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In a very reputed private university, there is a rule for sending thesis to internal(national) and external(international) examiner for evaluation. After a report from two reviewers, a viva is conducted. For the last few years, I am noticing that some departments are inviting local professors to thesis defense who have virtually no research relationships with the thesis. They are being invited just because of financial constraints or quid pro quo relationship between professors who just do this to please their friendly peers in academia. By inviting local professors, the university is saving up money from travel and lodging expenses.

Is this process legal?

  • You're asking a question about the rules of the UGC, which means that the question is specific to that organization and its rules, which is a reason to close the question. – Brian Borchers Aug 17 '18 at 2:23
  • @BrianBorchers: There are so many researchers on SA from India who might be interested in this question, so there is no reason to close question. – IgotiT Aug 17 '18 at 2:34
  • The point is that no one here can speak for the UGC on this matter. – Brian Borchers Aug 17 '18 at 2:52
  • @BrianBorchers: The UGC operates on a national level, so this would be on-topic. I have no idea whether they have written standards or precedence cases to base one’s answer on, but at worst the question would have to stay without an answer (which does not invalidate the question). – Wrzlprmft Aug 17 '18 at 9:40
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I'm not familiar with UGC policy. However, in the UK university I'm in, this would be considered a serious breach of protocol and may be grounds for invalidating the viva and its result.

The attendees at the viva are limited to four people:

  1. An internal examiner
  2. An external examiner
  3. An independent observer
  4. The PhD candidate

The qualifications of the first three have to be vetted by the Department, Faculty and Graduate School. The independent observer is a senior professor of my university who is not necessarily in the cognate discipline. His or her role is to ensure that the processes being followed meet university standards.

The proceedings are held in one of three special rooms we've designed for the purpose of the viva. The proceedings are not audio- or video-recorded. (We do allow the taking of photos of the attendees at the end of the proceedings.)

I can understand the idea of nominating local experts to reduce costs. However, the vetting process specifically seeks information about (1) conflicts of interest between or among examiners, supervisors and students and (2) the qualifications of the internal and external examiners to hold those positions.

I hope this helps.

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    Other UK universities take different view: "The examination may be attended by any member of the University in academic dress, while non-members may attend only with the consent of the examiners." – erstwhile editor Aug 17 '18 at 7:06

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