All eyes are glued on Raj Bhavan to find out whom the governor-cum-chancellor of Bihar universities would appoint the officiating vice-chancellor (VC) of Patna University.
The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the appointments of nine VCs, asking the seniormost dean of each to take charge. On Tuesday, the university campus buzzed over who would be appointed the VC. Teachers were seen discussing the issue with their colleagues.
The Patna University registrar’s office is waiting for a copy of the official judgment from the apex court so that they can send the names of deans to Raj Bhavan for a decision on the issue. PU registrar V.K. Yadav said: “The university office has not yet received the judgment copy from Supreme Court. Once we receive the copy, we shall send the names to Raj Bhavan.”
Education minister P.K. Shahi said: “Till now, I have not seen the judgment. Once I see the order, we will decide what to do in this regard.”
In Patna University, there are five deans — U.K. Sinha (science), Amar Kumar Singh (humanities), Bharti S. Kumar (social science), Rakesh Verma (law) and Chandrama Singh (commerce).
Sources said it would be a Herculean task for Raj Bhavan to appoint an officiating VC. There are deans with experience in their positions longer than their teaching stint as against professors with longer teaching experience appointed deans recently.
A senior varsity teacher, preferring anonymity, said: “The seniormost dean of the university is Rakesh Verma, who has eight years’ experience of working in the office. But his teaching experience as a professor in Patna University is less than that of U.K. Sinha, Bharti S. Kumar and Amar Kumar Singh.”
Verma joined Patna University as principal of Patna Law College and dean (law) in 2004 after being transferred from Ranchi University, while Bharti S. Kumar is a university professor since 1987, U.K. Sinha from 1988 and Amar Kumar Singh from 1991. Verma is the only teacher with the rank of professor at the law faculty.
Sources said the Patna University Act, 1976, too, does not have the provision of appointing the seniormost dean as the VC of the university. Shivjatan Thakur, an English teacher, said: “Section 13 of the Patna University Act, 1976, mentions that in the absence or death or resignation of the VC, a temporary VC can be appointed but there is no mention about the seniority of teachers who would be appointed VC.”
Citing the example of Sudipto Adhikari, who was appointed Patna University VC in January, 2011, Bharti S. Kumar said: “If the seniority of the dean, which includes teaching experience as professor, is the deciding factor, then I am the seniormost dean.” Apart from being dean of social science, Adhikari had longer experience as professor though his tenure as dean was lesser than that of Verma.
The bench of Supreme Court comprising Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice Kurian Joseph stayed the notifications issued regarding appointment of VCs on February 9 and March 14.
The bench passed the order on the petition filed by the Bihar government and some of the professors who have challenged the appointments made by outgoing governor-cum-chancellor Devanand Konwar.