The University Grants Commission (UGC) has mentioned before the Supreme Court that there were allegations of financial bungling against Panjab University (PU).
The special leave petition (SLP) of UGC, wherein these allegations are mentioned, has now been listed for last week of April when PU would reply to “unsavoury remarks”. In fact, the language of the UGC has been the same which is being used by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, students’ wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
It has been pointed out that there have been audit objections to salaries of PU registrar Col GS Chadha (retd) and vice-chancellor (V-C) Arun Kumar Grover. Recently, the ABVP had also raised the issue of salary of V-C in an open meeting of students’ bodies and PU authorities, but Prof Grover replied that he had not been paid for the past three months.
The UGC submits before the Supreme Court, “…there were also audit objections with respect to the pay and allowances paid by the University to its senior functionaries which was not in consonance with the government rules. Moreover, a fact-finding committee had been constituted by the UGC to look into the allegations of financial bungling in the Panjab University and the fact-finding committee had recommended certain steps to rectify and save the university from the financial situation.”
Actually, the fact-finding committee was constituted on the complaint of ABVP.
Prof Grover said, “It is unacceptable. Had there been financial bungling, we wouldn’t have got our grants in the last two years. How can a regulatory body of universities make such remarks without any evidence. We were never handed over the copy of the fact-finding committee. ”
The UGC has also alleged that PU did not allow representation to ministry of human resource development/ UGC in the syndicate or senate of the university “so as to ensure financial propriety” despite the fact that funds from them are major source of maintenance grant of PU.
The UGC has challenged the order of the Punjab and Haryana high court, dated January 19, where it was ordered to release an additional amount of Rs 30.5 crore to PU. This amount was over and above the sanctioned budget of the PU which it had already received from the UGC.
To oppose enhanced grants to PU, the UGC has also submitted that the “other universities in the region are being funded to the tune of approximately Rs 50 crore by their respective state governments and the number of students being almost the same, the cost per student to the state exchequer in the case of PU is far beyond the cost per student in other universities in this region”.
- Can the high court order UGC to pay additional amount of Rs 30 crore to PU once it had paid Rs 176 crore, sanctioned by MHRD for PU for 2016-17?
- Whether such directions, if also issued by other high courts, would make the functioning of the UGC impossible?
- Whether high courts have jurisdiction to issue such mandatory directions which also have the effect of creating financial burden on the government/UGC?
Points of disagreement between UGC and PU
1. UGC wants blanket ban on any new appointments, including temporary ones,which the PU has been opposing.
2. UGC wants ceiling on grant to PU, which the university has been opposing
3. UGC wants ratio of teaching and non-teaching staff should be 1: 1 on the pattern of central universities; PU has been opposing it saying it is an affiliating university
4. UGC wants PU to decrease the deficit, but the university has been increasing it