Senior University of Mumbai (MU) officials have lodged a protest against vice chancellor (V-C) Sanjay Deshmukh for what they term his ‘autocratic’ handling of university affairs – specifically, recent administrative decisions regarding transfers, promotions and restructuring of departments. The officials have made their displeasure known to Deskmukh in a letter (a copy of which is with HT). they accused the V-C of acting on impulse and taking decisions without consulting stakeholders.
As another mark of their protest, the officials plan to wear black bands to work on December 14.
A member of Mumbai University Officers Welfare Association (MUNWA) said that the university has not promoted employees working as assistant registrars (ARs) and deputy registrars (DRs) for the past 15 years. “If the officers don’t get their due promotions, there won’t be any incentive to work,” said the member, who did not wish to be named.
The officials are also angered by the vice chancellor’s appointment of several officers on special duty (OSD) to carry out various duties at the university. They insist that the varsity should tap its own staff for these duties instead of bringing in “outsiders”.
They have also criticised two recent administrative decisions concerning the restructuring of certain departments and promotions. “In the past six months, the vice chancellor merged, re-divided and re-merged the establishment departments. He has also reworked an arbitrary rule barring the promotion of employees over 45 who don’t have a degree,” said the MUNWA member.
The absence of fully functional statutory bodies allows the V-C to take decisions on his own. However, some of Deshmukh’s decisions have not gone down well with many people.
While Deshmukh refused to comment on the matter, a top official accused the forum of obstructing the administration. “They don’t do any work and don’t allow the vice-chancellor to do any work either. All they care about is earning more through corrupt means. They had similar grievances during the tenure of the previous vice chancellor (Rajan Welukar) too. They should understand that each vice-chancellor has his own style of working and should let him work as he wishes.”
MA Khan, registrar of Mumbai University, said that the management council discussed the issue of pending promotions and the university would request the government to look into the matter. “The issue concerns the government. We can’t do much,” he said.
Khan added that administrative decisions were taken in keeping in mind the day-to-day needs of the varsity. “The departments had to be shuffled after some employees retired, leaving their positions vacant,” he said.
Khan also said that the OSDs were appointed to do specialised work more affordably, as hiring full-time employees would have cost more.