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Delhi University ‘meddling’ finger at ministry

Faculty members are of the opinion that the ministry had no business interfering in DU’s affairs and the government had encroached upon the autonomy of the premier institution
Delhi University

Basant Kumar Mohanty   |   New Delhi   |   Published 24.10.20, 03:49 AM

The faction of the Delhi University (DU) administration led by indisposed vice-chancellor Yogesh K. Tyagi has questioned the education ministry’s stand on the power dispute at the institution.

Several faculty members also decried the government’s letter on Thursday supporting the group led by acting VC and acting pro-VC P.C. Joshi that is claiming to have legal authority to appoint a regular registrar and a finance officer. The faculty members are of the opinion that the ministry had no business interfering in DU’s affairs and the government had encroached upon the autonomy of the premier institution.

A meeting of the Executive Council (EC) presided over by Joshi had on Wednesday approved the appointments of Vikash Gupta as regular registrar and Girish Ranjan as regular finance officer.

Tyagi, who is unwell, has not been attending office for about two months. He had appointed Prof P.C. Jha as acting registrar on Wednesday and replaced Joshi with professor Geeta Bhatt on Thursday as pro-VC.

Joshi, who like education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal hails from Uttarakhand, has not accepted Tyagi’s decisions, citing his continued absence.

Late on Thursday, the government ratified Joshi’s decisions and overturned those of Tyagi.

A letter issued by Birendra Kumar Singh, deputy secretary in the education ministry, said the orders issued by Tyagi were not valid and that Joshi would continue as acting VC.

Jha, who has been appointed by Tyagi as acting registrar, shot off a letter to Singh in the education ministry on Friday.

“The honourable vice-chancellor, Prof Yogesh K. Tyagi, has taken decisions in due compliance with the Act, Statute and Ordinances of DU,” the letter by Jha said.

Jha objected to the ministry letter. “The university would like to submit the following with reference to your letter…. The letter has been addressed to Shri Vikash Gupta as registrar, DU. Attention is drawn to office order dated 22 October 2020 issued in this regard by the university. It is informed that Prof. P.C. Jha in addition to his responsibilities as director South Campus is acting registrar, DU, as an interim arrangement. It is also informed that Geeta Bhatt has been appointed as pro-vice-chancellor in place of P.C. Joshi,” Jha has written.

Hansraj Suman and two other teachers said the government’s actions amounted to encroachment.

“The ministry has no scope of interfering in DU’s affairs. This is encroachment into the autonomy of a premier university. The university runs by its acts, statute and ordinance, which do not allow any scope for government interference,” Suman said.

The camps of Tyagi and Joshi have remained adamant. Jha has set up a working group to expedite the process of promotion and recruitment of teachers at the university and its affiliated colleges.

Gupta issued a media release on Thursday night stating that Joshi would act as VC and would be the only competent authority to issue orders on administrative matters.

Another letter, from an official in the VC’s department to the varsity’s IT department, also surfaced suggesting that the Joshi camp had changed the password of the official email ID of the pro-VC, thereby denying Bhatt access.

The education ministry had till late on Friday night not replied to this newspaper’s email asking for comment on the criticism that has come its way.

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