Welukar’s back, ambiguity over V-C tenure continues

  • Apoorva Puranik, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Mar 07, 2015 00:12 IST

As Mumbai university vice-chancellor (V-C) Rajan Welukar resumes duty on Saturday, the academic fraternity is divided on state governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao’s decision to take back his orders.

On February 19, Rao had directed Welukar to stop attending work. The latest order creates ambiguity over Welukar’s five-year term, scheduled to end in July 2015.

On March 5, Rao, who is also chancellor of Mumbai university, had asked Welukar to resume duty in the light of the Supreme Court granting Welukar relief from the two Bombay high court orders questioning his appointment.

After this development, the joint meeting of the academic and management councils on March 9 regarding the appointment of a new search committee to look into Welukar’s appointment as V-C stands cancelled, said MA Khan, the university’s registrar.

“The Supreme Court has given four weeks [to the petitioners] to file counter affidavits after which there will be clarity on the status of appointing a new committee to rethink Welukar’s appointment,” said a senior lawyer with the university.

Rao’s decision has upset some stakeholders of the university. “With Welukar back as V-C, it will affect the appointment of the new V-C, as he will preside over the joint meetings of the academic and management councils,” said Sudhakar Tamboli, a senate member.

Sources claim although Welukar will resume duty, he might resign soon. “Welukar wants his tenure to end on his terms. He may resign to prove a point,” said a university official, requesting anonymity.

AD Sawant, one of the petitioner’s against Welukar’s appointment, said, “This decision was uncalled for.” While it is speculated Sawant may move court against the decision, Sawant refused to comment.

The decision has prompted teachers unions to call for a change in the process of selecting a new V-C. “The process of selecting vice-chancellors in the state needs to change. We are drafting a memorandum with suggestions regarding the appointment of vice-chancellors. We would like the governor to consider it,” said Madhu Paranjpe, secretary, Bombay University College Teacher’s Union.

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