Saturday, November 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Row over VC’s appointment
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Jammu, November 15
The sudden appointment of the new Vice-Chancellor of Jammu University has sparked a controversy. While the Governor’s Secretariat has claimed that no rules have been violated in the appointment of Mr Amitabh Mattoo, a section of the university teachers alleged that his name did not exist on the list which was forwarded by a search committee.

The appointment of the new VC has dragged the office of the Governor, who is also the Chancellor of the university, into a controversy. There was hope that the VC would be appointed from within the university, but Mr Mattoo is a Professor at JNU, Delhi, where he is also the Director of the School of International Studies.

The term of the present Vice-Chancellor, Prof. R.R. Sharma, expired in December last but he was allowed to continue until a new VC was selected.

The issue of selecting the VC dragged on even after the submission of the recommendations by a three-member search committee as the then Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, reportedly did not give his concurrence due to the Assembly elections.

It is being claimed by some members of the teaching and non-teaching staff of the university that the panel recommended by the search committee included the name of Dr Lalit Mangotra, Dean, Faculty of Sciences, of Jammu University, besides two others from outside the state. Mr Mattoo’s name did not figure on the list.

However, a senior officer of Raj Bhavan told this correspondent that no teacher from any university within the state was recommended for being appointed as the VC. Mr Mattoo’s name figured on the list, he claimed.

He pointed out that Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed was consulted over the appointment.

It is learnt that the search committee had submitted a list of three persons about seven months ago. There were reports that Dr Abdullah allowed Prof Sharma to continue as the VC because he wanted to nominate him as a member of the legislative council where seven seats had fallen vacant. However, the National Conference government did not return to office after the elections.

Some teachers said the Governor should have appointed another search committee if the names on the list were not of his choice. The statutes provide that the Chief Minister, who was the Pro-Chancellor of the university, had to be consulted on the appointment of a VC.

Mr Mattoo will be perhaps the youngest VC of the university as he is only 40 years old. 

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