Divyansh|Sep 20, 2023
Punjab Governor says won't allow violation of rules, objects PAU VC appointment
Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann accused the governor of "constantly interfering" in the functioning of his government, a charge Purohit rubbished as "baseless".
CHANDIGARH: Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Friday said he has taken an oath to protect the Constitution and will not allow violation of rules, amid a row with the AAP government over the appointment of the PAU vice-chancellor. Purohit told a press conference at the Raj Bhavan here that he has the dual role of governor and chancellor of different universities in the state.
On Thursday, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann accused the governor of "constantly interfering" in the functioning of his government, a charge Purohit rubbished as "baseless". Mann's allegation came after Purohit had asked him to revoke the appointment of Satbir Singh Gosal as the PAU vice chancellor (VC), saying he was appointed without following University Grants Commission norms and approval of the Chancellor. The chief minister, however, had said the appointment was done as per law.
When asked that AAP government has said it would not reverse the PAU VC's appointment, Governor Purohit said, "I will have to take legal advice." On if he will meet the chief minister face-to-face to sort out the "issues", the governor quipped, "He can come." "I will do my duty, come what may..," Purohit said, adding he has taken the oath to protect the Constitution.
The governor said he was the constitutional head of the state and reminded Mann that he had administered the oath of office to him as well under the Constitution. On Mann's remark that Gosal is a respected Punjabi Sikh and "there is a lot of resentment among Punjabis over your order of removing such a person", Purohit said there was no need to give a "communal" angle to this.
"Where is the personal question involved in this. They are saying a Jat Sikh has been made... Issue is that they are not following the legal process," he said, adding he has tremendous liking for Punjabis and Sikhs.
"During past year, did I say one word against any person. Rather, I have been praising the chief minister," he said. Purohit further said that he did not need to learn about rules from anyone. "But to indulge in loose talk, to allege that someone is giving instructions from the top. Who has the time for that? I am so senior, who will give me orders? As the governor, I have to maintain the dignity of the post and cannot use the same language they used. But these unnecessary allegations create confusion in the minds of people," he said.
Purohit, however, said that if he needed guidance, he would take legal advice. To drive his point on the VC appointment, he cited some judgments and the UGC Act, saying that in a university's working, the state government cannot interfere. "At least they should obey Supreme Court judgments.
The UGC Act will prevail and it empowers chancellors to appoint VCs," he said. Purohit also referred to a letter written by Mann to him which was in English and another one circulated to the media which was in Punjabi over the VC issue. He also cited provisions of the Haryana Punjab Agriculture Universities Act, 1970, pointing out that the chancellor shall be the honorary chairman of the board and the vice chancellor the working chairman.
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