The University Grants Commission (UGC) has called an emergency meeting on Monday to try and defuse a crisis surrounding a controversial attempt at appointing a new secretary at the organisation, which has triggered allegations of caste discrimination.
The UGC will re-evaluate the candidature of Akhilesh Gupta, a scientist with the department of science and technology, for the post of secretary at the Commission.
Gupta was shortlisted to be selected to the post last week, but at a Commission meeting, members almost unanimously raised concerns about the process through which he was picked — even though no one questioned Gupta’s credentials.
Under selection norms, an SC or ST representative must sit on panels, which shortlist candidates for posts of the rank of UGC secretary. But the panel that picked Gupta had no SC/ST representative.
Sources insist that though the meeting has been called suddenly, it is aimed merely at correcting an administrative lapse. “There was a genuine problem with the selection process, but that doesn’t mean that the candidate ought to be ruled out,” a senior UGC source said. But critics accuse UGC of planning to push through Gupta’s name without giving a new panel time to select a candidate.