The Punjab and Haryana high court has issued a notice to the Panjab University on a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) on vice-chancellor Arun Kumar Grover’s statements that the varsity may shut down due to lack of funds and that it (the varsity) was being controlled ‘by the mafia’.
An alumnus of the university, justice Mahesh Grover had initiated the petition. The university has to submit its response by October 20.
On September 3, while addressing the senate on budget proposals, the V-C had said, “The university will close down from the next semester, if our revised budget is not approved. We have to convince the central government about our requirements.”
On August 28, while talking to Hindustan Times, Prof Grover had termed some of the Panjab University senators as ‘vultures’, and said that the university was ‘controlled by the mafia’.
His remarks had stirred a storm and invited scathing reactions from the senators and faculty.
In the subsequent senate meeting, the V-C regretted his controversial remarks and stated that he was quoted out of context.
But, apparently the matter didn’t end there.
Justice Grover had sent his note to the acting chief justice for appropriate orders, stating that the V-C’s statements will invite concern of all who have been associated with the premier institution, particularly about the apprehension that it may shut down for lack of funds.
“It is a duty of all to see to it that the university that has been in existence since pre-Partition days should not hasten towards demise due to lack of funds. Evidently, if doom is predicted so soon, the institute must be in a state of decay,” justice
Grover had said in his note stressing that the statement of the V-C had to be accorded primacy as it came from a person of stature.
In his note, justice Grover said it appears that the stakeholders of the university had done little to share the financial burden while constantly obstructing the university’s efforts to be declared a
central university, which could possibly have resulted in its financial condition reaching this low.
Justice Grover added that before asking other stakeholders to submit their responses, the V-C should be given the first opportunity to respond.