Opposition slams Punjab govt after governor dubs PAU VC's appointment 'illegal'

After BFUHS VC appointment row, governor termed the appointment of PAU VC as illegal. This time AAP govt failed to follow UGC norms, the minister said.

Opposition slams Punjab govt after governor dubs PAU VC's appointment 'illegal' Punjab Agricultural University (Image: PAU Website)
Press Trust of India | Oct 19, 2022 - 9:44 a.m. IST
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CHANDIGARH: Rival parties in Punjab have slammed the Aam Aadmi Party government over its alleged failure in following rules and due procedures in the appointment of vice chancellors. Their reaction came in the wake of Governor Banwarilal Purohit asking Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to remove Satbir Singh Gosal as the vice chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), dubbing his appointment "totally illegal".

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"By now, this government should have realised that administrative appointments, unlike Rajya Sabha nominations, are not made through royal edicts, but under a proper procedure after following rules and regulations," Punjab Congress president Amrinder Singh Raja Warring said in a statement.

He also expressed "grave concern" over the growing confrontation between the governor and the chief minister, saying it did not bode well for the state as the two must work in close coordination. The PCC chief pointed out that it was the second such incident within a week, as earlier, cardiologist GS Wander's appointment as the vice chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences was not approved by the Governor because the government did not follow proper procedure.

"Either it is a vicious and willful attempt not to follow any rules or it is complete ignorance about rules and regulations that is causing such repeated embarrassments to the government," he remarked. He said it was sad that an eminent scientist like Dr Sohal, otherwise a "well-deserving candidate to lead the PAU", was made to face such an embarrassment, just because the AAP government did not follow rules.

PAU VC appointment row

Senior Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa also hit out at the AAP dispensation over the issue. "Another blunder of AAP govt in Punjab. After BFUHS VC appointment row, governor termed the appointment of PAU VC, Dr Satbir Singh Gosal illegal. This time AAP govt failed to follow UGC norms. This is what happens when people with little knowledge take charge of higher positions," he tweeted.

BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh said Chief Minister Mann was repeatedly trying to run down the grace and dignity of the Governor's office. Chugh said it was the second incident within a fortnight in which the chief minister had violated the constitutional provisions to "disgrace" the Governor.

The BJP leader said the AAP government was "deliberately challenging" the authority of the governor and thus causing a constitutional breakdown in the state. "Such incidents are not only bringing a disgrace to the accomplished personalities but are also demonstrating how bankrupt the state government has become in discharging its responsibilities and duties," Chugh said in a statement.

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Senior BJP leader and former MP Sunil Jakhar said the embarrassment could have been avoided had the state government followed due procedures for an otherwise routine process. "The Hon'ble Governor, being the Chancellor of the state Universities, is the final appointing authority for appointment of a VC," Jakhar said.

"Is there nobody to tell the powers be that a simple rule that any name or a panel of names the government proposes has to be ratified by the Governor before one is chosen to lead the university as the vice chancellor," Jakhar asked.

While the governor is the chancellor of the PAU, Gosal, an agricultural expert, was appointed its vice chancellor in August. In a letter to the chief minister on Tuesday, Purohit said it had been brought to his notice that the government appointed Gosal without following UGC norms and the approval of the chancellor.

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