The Presidency statute is set to be framed by January, paving the way for the appointment of the first full-term head of the university before interim vice-chancellor Malabika Sarkar’s term expires.
Sarkar’s tenure, extended by six months by the chancellor in July, will end on February 15, 2014.
The Presidency University council, the highest interim decision-making body of the institution, met on Friday and decided to frame the statute by January 2014, council member Sugata Bose said.
“At Friday’s meeting, the council decided to initiate the process of framing the statute at the earliest. Once the statute is ready, the governing board will come into force as the sole decision-making body of the university,” the Harvard history professor added.
The council decided to constitute a statute committee to overlook the process of drawing up the rules, said VC Sarkar. “We don’t want any delay,” she added.
The council also endorsed a recommendation made by the mentor group in its fifth report to extend Sarkar’s tenure till July 2015. The logic behind the recommendation is that an “extensive world-wide search” for a full-term vice-chancellor and a smooth transition of power would take two years.
“The full-term VC can assume charge before July 2015. We have effectively sought Sarkar’s extension for two years or till the appointment of a full-term VC, whichever is earlier,” said one of the mentors.
According to the Presidency University Act, the hunt for a full-term (four years) VC through a search committee would begin only after the governing board is constituted.
Sarkar is not eligible for the post as she has turned 65 — the retirement age of a VC in a state university.
The act says the search committee would comprise a representative each of the chancellor, state government and the governing board.
“The governing board is the brainchild of the mentor group, which wanted to break away from the two-tier administrative system instituted by the erstwhile Left Front regime in state universities to remote control policy decisions. It is obvious that such a search panel will bear the stamp of neutrality, which the panel led by Sugata Marjit to pick Sarkar’s successor had lacked,” said a university professor.
The higher education department had on July 25 issued an order announcing the setting up of the Marjit-led search committee that included two other Trinamul loyalists — Calcutta University vice-chancellor Suranjan Das and ISI professor Avirup Sarkar.
The Marjit panel, which had allegedly tried to undermine the mentor group, met on July 25 in an attempt to replace Sarkar barely a week before the August 22 convocation.
The committee, however, had to backtrack after the chancellor, governor M.K. Narayanan, intervened and extended Sarkar’s tenure by six months.
Education minister Bratya Basu has since clarified that the mentors would be consulted before the next VC is selected.
On Wednesday, Basu had even asserted that the higher education council had no role in the selection of the VC.