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Mumbai university V-C Sanjay Deshmukh may face axe for result delay

Senior state officials said Maharashtra Public Universities Act, 2016 provides the governor with enough grounds to dismiss him

mumbai Updated: Jul 29, 2017 08:16 IST
MU V-C Sanjay Deshmukh at the university on Friday.
MU V-C Sanjay Deshmukh at the university on Friday.(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

As there are indications that University of Mumbai may miss the July 31 deadline set by Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao to declare examination results, vice-chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh may lose his job.

With legislators from both houses clamouring for Deshmukh’s dismissal on Friday, state education minister Vinod Tawde said he will personally meet Rao, who is also MU’s chancellor, and convey the house’s sentiments.

Tawde told the state assembly that the government plans to probe the V-C’s role in the inordinate delay in declaring results. “Tenders for assessment of answer papers were issued only after examinations got over. We will investigate the manner in which the online system was put in place,” said Tawde.

Tawde’s statement also indicated that the BJP government was finding it difficult to defend Deshmukh. The government is facing more flak as colleges had to be shut for days to let teaching staff assess papers.

While the state does not plan on sending any formal recommendation to the governor for action against Deshmukh, senior state officials said Maharashtra Public Universities Act, 2016 provides the Rao with enough grounds to dismiss him .

As per the Act, a university’s board of examinations has to strive to declare results of every examination within 30 days of the exam and even if extended, the period should not cross 45 days. A senior state official said in the university’s case, of the total 477 examinations conducted, the results of 427 have been delayed beyond 45 days with some delayed even by up to 60 days. “There are grounds to take action against Deshmukh. The university has delayed nearly 90% of results beyond the stipulated time frame,” the official added.

However, Deshmukh’s ouster could come after the results are declared. The government is also worried since more controversies could come out of papers being assessed in a hurry. “We have told university officials to ensure that the assessment is done in a proper manner even if it takes few more days to declare results,”Tawde said.

Planning error

Sources from the state education department said while the government will probe the process, it is evident that the planning was inadequate. Unlike other universities in the state that are adopting online assessment gradually, MU introduced it for all its exams this summer. Many evaluators could not download papers owing to insufficient bandwidth. In some cases, evaluators of a particular subject got answer papers of another subject or in a different language.

Speaking in the assembly, minister of state for higher education Ravindra Waikar said, “Members of the managing committee (of the university) were apprehensive if the online system could be implemented in just three months. The V-C assured them that it would be smooth and also took responsibility for it.”

The Universities Act prescribes certain situations in which the chancellor may consider removing the V-C. These include refusal to carry out provisions of the Act, breaching any term of service, abusing his powers, or him being the V-C is detrimental to the interests of the university. The governor will examine Deshmukh’s case and take a decision, a state official said. “Since any delay in declaration of results would affect the future of students and cause serious unrest in their minds, the governor has asked Deshmukh to augment a system to declare results on time,”said a statement issued by Raj Bhavan on July 24.