DU row refuses to die downUpdated: Oct 27, 2020, 00:01 IST
New Delhi: The controversy over the appointment and transfer of senior officials at the Delhi University refuses to die down with officials indicating that vice-chancellor Yogesh Tyagi, who is on sick leave since July, wanted to attend a meeting which is at the heart of the issue.
The meeting of the executive council, the highest decision making body, was scheduled for October 21 and, according to members of the body, the V-C had expressed his willingness to join the meeting. However, Tyagi did not attend it and the meeting was chaired by pro vice-chancellor PC Joshi.
The central institution had plunged into an unprecedented crisis last week with two rival groups -- one led by pro vice-chancellor PC Joshi and another backed by Tyagi -- appointing their nominees the new registrar simultaneously. While the Joshi group claimed that the nominee of their rivals did not have the backing of the executive council, the other group had removed Joshi and appointed Geeta Bhatt as the new pro vice-chancellor.
The October 21 meeting had cleared the appointment of Vikas Gupta as the new registrar, hours after the group backed by Tyagi appointed PC Jha to the post.
This raises questions over Tyagi’s leave of absence which has been a bone of contention during the ongoing power tussle in DU. Last week, the education ministry had nullified the appointments of interim registrar PC Jha and pro vice-chancellor Geeta Bhatt by the vice-chancellor on the grounds that he was on leave and could not take such decisions without the ratification of the executive council.
According to retired professor Rajkumar Bhatia, who is also the Visitor’s nominee to the executive council, pro-vice chancellor PC Joshi had informed the members during an October 10 EC meeting that Tyagi had wished to attend the meeting.
Joshi refused to comment on the matter while Tyagi did not answer requests for a response.
“During the October 10 meeting, Joshi said he got a message from the V-C, saying that the latter wanted to attend the meeting. Following this, there was nearly an hour-long break and the pro V-C went to meet the V-C. According to Joshi, the V-C called for postponement of the meeting and said he would preside over the next meeting which would be held after 10 days,” said Bhatia.
The next meeting was scheduled for October 21.
Executive Council member Rajesh Jha also confirmed the sequence of events that took place on October 10. “We protested against the cancellation of the meeting because important agenda items were pending since the last EC meeting in March. Joshi told us that the meeting was cancelled out of deference for the V-C since he was retiring in March and this may be his last meeting. He also assured us that the next meeting (to be held on October 21) would not be cancelled,” said Jha.
Commenting on the current state of affairs in the university, Jha said, “The current fight is for control of the university among the different factions of the ruling establishment. It is about influencing selection of the next V-C and not about the registrar,” said Jha.
“The tussle can further dilute the eroded autonomy of the university,” he said.
He also said that day-to-day functioning of the university is getting affected due to the feud. “Proposals and files are getting stuck because everybody is waiting for the turmoil to die down. Decisions taken during the meeting are also in limbo,” he said.
Manoj Khanna, principal of Ramjas College, said, “While the admissions have kept us busy, all of this leaves an impact psychologically. The issue has become a talking point and everyone is worried as these kind of flip-flops haven’t happened before. We feel that this was not in good taste because the image of the institution has been tarnished and there is uncertainty all around. Besides, if the V-C said that he wanted to attend the meeting on October 21 and later postponed it due to other work, why the hurry? Why couldn’t they wait for two days to discuss the important agenda items?”