MDU suffers in row over VC’s appointment
Another feather in Solan’s cap
MDU suffers in row over VC’s appointment
AT the fag-end of March this year, the vice-chancellor of Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak, resigned to stand for the Lok Sabha elections and eversince then the MDU top post has been lying vacant managed by a Botany professor, Dr Ravi Prakash.
This man-made situation, strangely, is only possible in Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh universities where politicians have scant respect for the august post of the Vice-Chancellor which, invariably, is awarded to one of the trusted hangers-on of the state Chief Minister.
When ethics takes the back seat and politics becomes the driving force, a vague law becomes a handy tool for the mischief-makers. The MDU controversy is one such case .
The outgoing Vice-Chancellor of MDU, Bhim Singh Suhag had, a couple of days before submitting his resignation, summoned a meeting of the Executive Council (EC) which nominated two persons to represent the university at the "Selection Committee".
Both nominees were eminent persons (Vice-Chancellors) and duly elected by the Executive Council (EC) held under the chairmanship of the outgoing Vice-Chancellor.
Nearly two months later, on May 31, a subsequent meeting of the EC scrapped the decision of the previous EC meeting alleging bias and prejudice. Some of the teachers vehemently opposed the previous EC decision, saying that the nominations were made by Prof Suhag before he actually resigned the VC’s post.
Now study the relevant clause of the Maharshi Dayanand University Act, 1975: "9 -A’[(1) "The State Government shall constitute a Selection Committee consisting of one nominee of the Chancellor and two nominees of the Executive Council which shall prepare a panel of atleast three names, in alphabetical order, from which the Chancellor, shall appoint the Vice-Chancellor, on the advice of the State Government."
Nowhere does the clause bar the outgoing Vice-Chancellor from summoning a meeting of the EC to nominate persons for the "Selection Committee". Prof Suhag was, in fact, well within his rights to summon the EC before he resigned to elect the two nominees for the Selection Committee.
Indeed, the MDU Act, unfortunately, is silent about the exact time and the modus operandi of the selection of the university nominees, but the statutes of the neighbouring state universities are clear about the point. Sample the following clause from the UP Universities Act.
"The (Selection) Committee shall, as far as may be, at least sixty days before the date on which a vacancy in the office of the vice-chancellor is due to occur by reason of expiry of term, or resignation `85..and before such date as may be specified by the Chancellor, submit to the Chancellor the names of not less than three and not more than five persons, suitable to hold the office of the Vice-Chancellor."
Going a step ahead, Clause 12 (2) (a) specifies the time by which the EC must elect its nominee to from the Selection Committee. The nominee, it says, must be elected "at least three months before the date on which a vacancy in the office of the Vice-Chancellor is due to occur."
The universities in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and other states have a similar clause and in most universities the outgoing Vice-Chancellor convenes the EC to elect a nominee for the search committee. This ensures that the outgoing VC hands over charge to the new incumbent and the changeover on the campus is smooth.
Common sense tells us that Haryana lawmakers must have preferred order and smooth conduct of university functioning to administrative anarchy when they enacted the MDU Act and would have definitely allowed the outgoing VC to initiate the process for selection of his de jure successor. But as the relevant MDU clause is silent over the modus operandi of the EC nominations, everyone interprets its to suit his/their interests.
Another point. The other
essential factor in the university system is the role of the
Governor-Chancellor. The Chancellor is the undisputed head of the
university system and the government has no role in the selection of
the Vice-Chancellor. In Haryana, unfortunately, power-hungry
politicians have made a mess of the system by inserting a clause in
the university Acts which says that "`85.the Chancellor shall
appoint the Vice-Chancellor on the advice of the state
Another feather in Solan’s cap
SOLAN in Himachal Pradesh is considered the fastest growing cosmopolitan tinsel town of India. It has got a new name — town of learning — because the famous University of Horticulture and Forestry, DAV Dental College and Jaypee University of Information Technology (JUIT) at Waknaghat are all located here.
SILB — Shoolini
Institute of Life Sciences and Business Management — is another new
feather in the private sector in Solan’s Cap. This institute is
likely to grow as one of its kind in Asia with all facilities of Life
Sciences, with focus on biotechnology and bio-business management.
Students from all over the country, specially Karnataka and Kerala,
have shown inclination to join it. SILB has fixed 25 per cent the
seats for Himachal
SILB is the brainchild of Prof P.K. Khosla, president and former Vice-Chancellor of HP Krishi Visvavidyalya, Palampur, and Senior Scientific Adviser-Biotechnology, Himachal Pradesh.
According to Prof Khosla: "SILB is going for a MoU on collaborative project with its alliance partner Rotham Stead Hetdforsdhire, United Kingdom. The projects shall focus on diversification of farming with medicinal and aromatic plants by hill farmers. This institute shall also act as a catalyst for innovative ideas to establish ‘Eden Parks’ (Indoor conservation of Biodiversity) in collaboration with Rotham Stead, UK.
SILB plans to spend Rs 100 crore on the project for which land is being earmarked at Kotla Barog, 7 km from the University of Horticulture and Forestry. The unique feature of the institute is to train students to meet the growing needs of knowledge-based industries. Furthermore, it will promote entrepreneurship.
According to Prof
Khosla: "SILB shall help the youth set up tissue culture units
for quality planting material of fruit, herbal and aromatic plants
species, vegetable crops and ornamental plants. For apple alone, the
existing seedling rootstock to clonal virus free rootstock can
generate a business of Rs 320 crore, leading to a boom of tissue
culture industries. The institute shall play a key role in improving
the economy of the state in the agriculture sector." SILB also
plans to collaborate with voluntary social organisations/NGOs for the
welfare of small-scale farmers. Pragati, an NGO dedicated to promoting
the lesser known tourism destinations of HP, is willing to undertake
landscaping of the proposed university campus in the foothills of the
picturesque Sarsu valley, where work on an eco-herbal park is in
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