The Punjab and Haryana high court (HC) on Monday ordered chairman and secretary, University Grants Commission (UGC) that either of two will remain present on December 5 to assist the court on the financial crisis of Panjab University.
The direction was passed as neither the UGC counsel had instructions as per the directions of HC nor information was supplied to court about November 15 proceedings of the UGC in which, it was to discuss financial grant to the university.
The court had ordered on same on November 7. However, the court was informally informed that third instalment of the Rs 40 crore grant had been sanctioned for the university. However, the financial grant issue was not discussed in the meeting, in view of release of third installment.
The HC bench of Justice SS Saron and Justice Lisa Gill was miffed over the handling of matter by the central government officials and observed that court has had similar experiences in the past as well in several matters pertaining to the region.
During the hearing, additional solicitor general, Satya Pal Jain said that earlier, the grants were released to university by the Centre.
“However, since 2008, these are routed through the UGC. Hence, it has to reply on this issue. As of proportionate enhancement of annual deficit amount, I have written to the Centre and will apprise about its stand soon,” he added.
The UGC has made a provision of Rs 176 crore for this fiscal year of which, two instalments of Rs 90 crore and Rs 40 crore have already been released and another Rs 42 crore has been sanctioned.
PU on the last date of hearing had said that if the third grant is not received at the earliest, the university may face difficulties in paying salaries of November and December.
The court was hearing a suo motu petition initiated in September after PU vice-chancellor Arun Kumar Grover raised the issue of the financial crunch at a senate meeting in the same month.
The varsity had told the court that the situation is grim and the deficit will cross Rs 101 crore by the end of this financial year. The Centre has capped PU’s grants at Rs 176 since the 2013-14 fiscal due to which, deficit is increasing every year.
Against Rs 176 crore sanctioned by UGC, the university’s requirement is of Rs 277 crore. As of now, 92% of the funds are provided by the Centre and 8% by Punjab.