Delhi University: Ugly fight over appointments and EC meeting

Delhi University: Ugly fight over appointments and EC meeting
Abhay Anand | Oct 23, 2020 - 10:23 a.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: Apparently, Delhi University now has two of everything -- two Pro-Vice-Chancellors, two registrars and two South Campus directors. An extremely unseemly, and increasingly comical, tussle has broken out between Delhi University’s senior-most officials that, on October 22, required the ministry of education’s intervention. The ministry instructed DU officials to follow the orders issued by the acting Vice-Chancellor PC Joshi, overriding the instructions sent just a few hours before by Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi who has been on leave on medical grounds.

Caught up in the confusion are the appointments of the registrar, the South Campus director and the Executive Council meeting. Tyagi has been on long leave and a fight has broken out between two factions of officials, those for and against the Vice-Chancellor. PC Joshi, the Pro-VC of Delhi University, has been serving as the acting VC in Tyagi’s absence.

The power tussle resulted in back-to-back notifications on appointment and removal of South Campus director and acting registrar as well as announcement of EC decisions and their nullification -- all within hours of each other. The ministry supported Joshi but today, October 23,the registrar (or not, it’s hard to tell at this point) PC Jha wrote back to the ministry essentially reiterating that he is registrar and South Campus director.

What happened at DU

On October 21, a notification was issued by the university appointing PC Jha as the director of the South Campus of DU by replacing Suman Kundu. Jha was also appointed the acting registrar the same day. As the day progressed, another letter surfaced signed by the acting VC, PC Joshi, who is also the pro-VC of the university asking Jha to vacate the registrar’s office immediately.

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By evening of October 21, a meeting of the DU Executive Council was convened by Joshi where it was decided that the first notification on appointment of PC Jha is against the rules of DU. Kundu was again given charge of the south campus. The meeting was later nullified by Jha.

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Then, on October 22, Tyagi emerged from leave appointing Geeta Bhatt Pro-Vice Chancellor, removing Joshi. Bhatt issued a letter saying all decisions taken by Joshi “without any jurisdiction and lawful authority and therefore are null and void”.

The registrar’s office followed up with another letter stating Joshi “is the only competent authority to approve / issue orders as per the provisions of the Act, Statutes and Ordinances of the university.

Enter education ministry

At this point, the ministry of education entered the scene on October 22 evening and issued a letter stating that P C Joshi acting VC will act as the vice-chancellor and all the orders for the functioning of the university should be issued with the approval of Joshi.

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The ministry letter also stated that Tyagi has not assumed charge and has not joined duties on recovery on submission of medical fitness certificate. The ministry has also taken note of the attempt to block the conduct of the executive council meeting on October 21 and functioning of the varsity by the acting registrar, appointed by Tyagi, “who is on leave.”

The letter also stated that Joshi will continue as the VC of the university and has asked the DU administration to ensure that the admission process, recruitment and academic activities, already delayed by COVID-19, go as per schedule.

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