The Chancellor’s office and the Human Resource Development Department seem to be firmly set on a collision course.
Barely two days after HRD Secretary KK Pathak resumed duty, he has asked Raj Bhawan to “identify the official, who was diluting the authority of the Chancellor”. “The State Government should know about the person,” the letter he addressed to Raj Bhawan said.
The letter is in response to an earlier Raj Bhawan communique issued by Deputy Secretary, Raj Bhawan, KB Sahni instructing all universities and staff to abide by Raj Bhawan guidelines only.
The HRD secretary’s letter has been addressed to Sahni with a copy to the Principal Secretary, Raj Bhawan, and all the Vice-Chancellors and registrars. It was Sahni, who had earlier this month issued a letter to all the VCs, outlining the jurisdiction of Raj Bhawan in academic as well as administrative matters.
Citing various sections, including Section 54 of the Bihar State Universities Act, 1976, Pathak has sought to know who was infringing on the Chancellor’s powers and how. “The universities run on public money, which needs to be properly utilised. The HRD started monitoring attendance of teachers in public interest,” the letter reads.
Pathak has written that the move is aimed at restoring positive academic atmosphere on the campuses and nip anarchy.
“When the Government has financial obligations towards the universities, it cannot remain a mute spectator to the goings on,” the letter read. Sahni had earlier cited sub-section 7(2) and 8 of section 76 (9) of the Bihar State Universities’ Act, 1976, to say in his letter to the V0C’s: “The power to issue orders and guidelines with regard to academic and administrative affairs concerning universities is vested only in the Chancellor.”
Sources in Raj Bhawan said the letter had been received. “We will put it up before the Chancellor on Friday. The fact is that the Chancellor had to issue the letter because of KK Pathak's recent actions, which had been met adversely by the larger academic community. Else, there was no need for that letter, as the Chancellor is the supreme authority in all matters pertaining to the universities,” they added.Some of the V-Cs and registrars, when contacted, refused to comment on the matter. “It is between two offices — the Government and the Chancellor. We are small fries. But yes, we will forward the secretary's letter also to Raj Bhawan for its scrutiny,” a V-C said.