The much-awaited Maharashtra Public Universities Act was officially brought into force in its new form on Wednesday, finally ending the long wait for the law. However, it will be fully implemented once the state releases statutes to go along with it, which may take another few weeks, said officials. The statutes will direct how the law is to be implemented.
“A state committee has prepared the statutes pertaining to qualification of authorities and formation of statutory bodies. The draft has been sent to the governor for approval. Other statutes, including those for student elections, will be prepared soon after consulting stakeholders. As provided in the act, the universities can continue to function through ad-hoc bodies till the new committees are formed,” said an aide to state education minister Vinod Tawde. He added that vice-chancellors of all public universities in the state will meet on Friday to discuss the implementation of the new act.
At present, universities in the state have been functioning with ad-hoc bodies without any Act in place as the previous act was dissolved in August 2015. Important posts, including that of the pro-vice chancellor, deans of various faculty, director (assessment and evaluation), elected members of senate, etc, are lying vacant since 2015.
While the law is now officially in place, appointment of th enew officials depends on the statutes, which will mention the qualification and work experience required for a candidate to be eligible for a post. “We can’t hire anyone at present, but the work will begin the minute statutes are announced. As of now, we will function as per the ad-hoc bodies,” said M A Khan, registrar, University of Mumbai. He added that the functioning of universities still looks difficult without the statutes but the same are expected to change by the end of this month.
Earlier this year, a group of college principals from the city had requested the state government to retain some parts of statutes as prescribed by the earlier law. “A lot of changes have been introduced by the new Act and we want to make sure that the quality is not compromised with. The statutes as prescribed by the previous Act were apt and in consideration of the quality, which is why we suggest that some remain the same,” said Dinesh Panjwani, principal of RD National College, Bandra. He added that the previous version of the Act made sure that the qualifications of all members was appropriate to the roles they take in any of the committees at the university, which is why it was important to retain some parts of the old statutes.