After V-C sacking, uncertainty looms over Mumbai university elections

Officials said they will not be able to meet the November 30 deadline, as required, for forming governing bodies

mumbai Updated: Nov 01, 2017 09:43 IST
Musab Qazi
Musab Qazi
Hindustan Times
Former Mumbai university vice-chancellor Bhalchandra Mungekar joins students during a protest against the results mess at the varsity’s Kalina campus on Tuesday.(Satish Bate)

The ouster of vice-chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh has brought in uncertainty over elections for various statutory bodies, such as the senate, academic council, management council, boards of studies and board of examination at the University of Mumbai (MU).

At a time when most public universities in the state are busy with elections, the MU is yet to publish voters’ lists for various constituencies. Officials said they will not be able to meet the November 30 deadline, as prescribed in the law, for forming these bodies.

Every non-agricultural public university functions through various governing bodies, which are responsible for making policies and taking important decisions on administrative and academic matters. For the last two years the university has been working without full-fledged governing bodies, owing to the state government's embargo on elections. While the embargo was lifted when the state introduced a new law to govern the state’s public universities- Maharashtra Public Universities Act 2016, the delay in conducting elections means that the varsity will have to continue working with ad-hoc bodies.

An official from the university said that the election process has been delayed due to crisis around assessment of answer sheets.“The elections will eventually be held but we may not be able to stick to the statutory deadline. There’s no clarity from acting vice-chancellor Devananad Shinde as to if and when the elections will be held,” he said.

Shinde remained unavailable for comment.

Currently, all the top positions at the varsity are filled with temporary officials. Sources said these officials are reluctant to initiate the election proceedings, as they are unsure about their own tenure.

The absenceof full-fledged governing bodies at MU is said to have contributed to the examination mess and other problems at the university. Experts have said that the former V-C Sanjay Deshmukh enjoyed unbridled powers as there were no checks and balances on him.

The prolonging of election process is likely to affect functioning of the university.“Important activities such as framing of curricula and forming policies will suffer if elections are delayed,” said Sanjay Vairal, a former MU senate member.

First Published: Nov 01, 2017 09:42 IST