Harikesh Singh, senior professor from Benaras Hindu University (BHU), was appointed the new vice-chancellor (VC) of the Jaya Prakash University (JPU), Chapra. Former pro-vice chancellor of the Lalit Narayan Mithila University, Darbhanga, Syed Mumtazuddin, was named the VC of the Veer Kunwar Singh University (VKSU), Ara.
The governor-cum-chancellor of universities, Bihar, Ram Nath Kovind, made the appointments on Monday.
Both the universities were without regular VCs for over a year following the unceremonious removal of their previous incumbents, mid-way through their tenure.
A communique from the Raj Bhawan said the two VCs were appointed on the recommendations of the respective search committees of universities, subsequent ‘meaningful and effective’ consultation with the state government and personal interaction with the shortlisted candidates.
Singh was the senior most professor in the department of education, BHU, and had also worked as dean, faculty of education. His predecessor in JPU, Dwijendra Gupta, who was earlier a professor of biochemistry, University of Allahabad, was removed in December 2015, following charges of financial irregularities.
Earlier VC of VKSU and Mumtazuddin’s predecessor, Mohammad Azhar Hussain, was removed after his qualification was challenged in the Patna high court. The Supreme Court had also upheld the HC order.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar, along with education minister Ashok Choudhary, had called on the chancellor at Raj Bhawan on January 9, in what was dubbed as a mandatory consultation between the chancellor and the chief minister over VCs appointment.
The candidates short-listed by search committees of the two universities were called for personal interaction with the chancellor on January 19 and 20.
Acting on SC order, it was in 2014 that VCs were appointed through search committees for the first time in Bihar. The apex court had in 2013 quashed appointments of all VCs and pro-VCs, made during the tenure of former governor Devanand Konwar.
Sources said screening of applications for VCs of nine other universities was also on.