The UGC’s response had come on November 10 after the varsity wrote to the statutory body seeking a plan on the implementation of the National Education Policy.(HT FILE)
The UGC’s response had come on November 10 after the varsity wrote to the statutory body seeking a plan on the implementation of the National Education Policy.(HT FILE)

UGC’s reply to PU on governance reforms brings another twist to senate issue

Statutory body tells varsity that it can initiate governance reforms as per the existing provisions; to do this, however, it has to first hold senate polls, say experts
By Dar Ovais | Hindustan Times, Chandigarh, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON NOV 26, 2020 12:11 AM IST

With the University Grants Commission (UGC) informing Panjab University (PU) that it may initiate governance reforms in accordance with its existing provisions and regulations, the matter has become even more complicated for the varsity.

The UGC’s response had come on November 10 after the varsity wrote to the statutory body seeking a plan on the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP-2020).

As no fresh elections to the PU senate have been held so far, the former senators were apprehensive that the governing structure of the university may change due to the NEP-2020, which has recommended that a Board of Governors (BoG) be appointed as the governing body in higher educational institutions.

Now after the UGC’s reply, many senators and syndics are of the view that as per the regulations of the University, PU has to elect a senate to be able to modify or amend the regulations of the University. The elections to the PU senate, which is the supreme governing body of the University, were postponed by the vice-chancellor for the second time on October 15, citing the pandemic. The polls were earlier scheduled to start from August 24.

Syndicate member Ashok Goyal said, “The reply from UGC clearly states that the University has to act in accordance with the statutes of the University calendar. The reforms have to be done by the governing body, so the first step is to bring in the governing body of PU.”

As per the PU calendar, the framing and amending of regulations of the University has to be done by the regulations committee. Section 24 of Volume I, Chapter II (A) of PU Calendar states that in making Regulations under Section 31 of the Panjab University Act, 1947, the Syndicate shall consider all amendments and draft regulations as recommended by the Regulations committee and after making such alterations as it considers fit, shall submit the same to the Senate. It further states that the decision of the Senate along with the proposed amendments and regulations shall be forwarded to the government for sanction.

However, the Act can be amended in the Parliament too.

Former V-C Arun Kumar Grover said, “In 2018, I had placed the reports of the committees for governance reforms of the University in syndicate but that was not considered.”

Ever since the PU senate elections have been postponed, there have been a series of protests on the campus demanding immediate polls. Besides syndicate members, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Sukhbir Singh Badal have also written to the Vice-President of India, Venkaiah Naidu, who is also the Chancellor of PU, asking him to direct the varsity to conduct senate polls immediately.

PU’s registrar, Vikram Nayyar, said, “We will proceed under the provisions of the PU act.”

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