Dinesh Singh, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Delhi University, on Friday took over as its new VC at a time when the institution has been witnessing a prolonged agitation by teachers over the issue of semester system.
Singh, who is the 20th Vice Chancellor of DU, took the charge this afternoon from Deepak Pental, whose term had expired on August 31, an official statement said.
A mathematician, Prof Singh has also been the director of the University's South Campus, and was the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the institution during Pental's tenure.
Singh was picked up from among four shortlisted candidates including the principal of Lady Shriram College Meenakshi Gopinath.
The new VC assumes office at a critical time, and his foremost challenge will be to engage the agitating teachers and reach an understanding with them. The University has lost several academic days due to strikes and agitations of the Delhi University Teachers Association, which has persistently been at loggerheads with Pental.
The biggest bone of contention had been the introduction of the semester system in 13 undergraduate science courses this year, which DUTA says has come without the approval of the Academic Council and the Executive Council.
As Singh assumed charge, DUTA also called off its five-day strike today following a High Court order on a PIL filed on the issue. DUTA President Aditya Narayan Mishra welcomed the new appointment, saying he hoped it would spell an end to the era of "corruption and arrogance" in the administration.
"We have called off the strike as we honour the High Court judgement. As for the new Vice Chancellor assuming office, we hope he puts an end to the era of corruption and arrogance," he said.
Another issue of contention between the teachers and the administration has been the continuation of Pental in his post after the expiry of his term.
The DUTA has maintained that he was not authorised to do so under the University's statutes and that he required an authorisation from the Visitor of the University -- the President.
DUTA decided to withdraw its ongoing strike against implementation of semester system after the HC asked it not to hold the students' careers to ransom and follow university rules.
The counsel appearing for the DUTA assured a division Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Manmohan that the strike will be withdrawn.
The HC bench also asked the DUTA counsel to file a detailed affidavit along with the Supreme Court rulings on the teachers strike on November 11, the next date of hearing.
A General Body meeting of DUTA met today and decided to call off the strike. However, they insisted that they would continue to teach in the annual mode and not the semester mode.