Row over plan to axe UGC member

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  • Published 6.09.13

New Delhi, Sept. 5: A plan to remove Yogendra Yadav from the University Grants Commission (UGC) over his association with Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party has snowballed into a controversy.

The HRD ministry has issued a showcause notice asking him to explain within a week why the government should not drop him on grounds of conflict of interest. But Yadav today rejected the Centre’s contention.

Yadav was appointed on July 27, 2011, for three years in an honorary post. Such members are supposed to contribute to the functioning of the UGC to regulate and standardise higher education as the regulator.

Yadav is a founding member of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), launched in November last year. He was also part of the Lokpal movement.

In its showcause, the ministry said Yadav had participated in political forums and his credentials had altered of late.

Yadav, however, said he had earlier expressed a wish to resign to then HRD minister Kapil Sibal through his private secretary Uma Shankar. But Yadav claimed the secretary had told him that the minister was comfortable with his continuance.

A senior ministry official today said there was nothing in writing from Yadav to suggest he had wanted to step down.

“The UGC Act, 1956, specifies a tenure of three years for a member unless he becomes disqualified for continuing as such. There is no mention of participation in political activity or a political party as a ground for disqualification,” Yadav said.

As UGC member, Yadav said he had raised objections to handling of certain matters, including the manner in which the UGC approved new norms for appointment of teachers. He had later requested the UGC to defer its discussion on Delhi University’s four-year graduation course.

Yadav had also questioned a proposal to set up an Inter-University Centre on Teacher Education at J.N. Technical University in Kakinada, current minister M.M. Pallam Raju’s constituency, “on procedural and substantive” grounds.