Patna, Aug. 3: Smarting from what it sees as a snub by the governor, the Bihar government today initiated the process to seize the financial powers of the newly appointed vice-chancellors in the state’s universities.
“We are in the process of sending a detailed report to the chief minister on how the chancellor had violated set rules and precedents in appointing the VCs as per his whims and fancy. Since the appointments are void, the department contemplates seizing the financial powers of the newly appointed VCs,” human resource development minister P.K. Shahi said.
Shahi has locked horns with Governor Devanand Konwar, who is also the chancellor of universities, over the appointments, which, the minister alleges, were made without consulting the government.
The government’s aggressive stance came on a day the ruling Janata Dal (United) got into the act and sought the Prime Minister’s intervention in the Bihar governor’s “bypassing” of set rules in dealing with higher education.
“I met Manmohan Singh and submitted the file in which Konwar had scribbled in his own handwriting to create the impression that he had consulted the government in appointing Arvind Kumar and S.K. Sinha as the VCs of Magadh University and Veer Kuer Singh University,” said JD(U) national general secretary Shivanand Tiwary.
Tiwary, also an MP, said this was akin to “fraud”. “Scribbling in his own handwriting in between sentences amounts to fraud. Patna High Court quashed the appointments of Kumar and Sinha, saying they had been done without consultation with the government. I have also given a copy of the court’s order to the Prime Minister,” he said.
Last year, the HRD department had seized the financial powers of Kumar and Sinha, describing their appointments s “illegal”. The court subsequently quashed their appointments on May 4.
The chancellor was not available for comments. But sources close to Konwar, whose secretariat comprises a judicial officer of the rank of additional district judge and an officer of joint secretary-rank, defended the governor.
“Section 10 (2) of the Bihar Universities Act stipulates that the chancellor should appoint the VCs and pro-VCs in consultation with the government. But the rule does not warrant upon him to abide by the government’s suggestion,” a senior Raj Bhavan argued.