THE CONTROVERSY surrounding Panjab University Vice-Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover’s recent affidavit in the Punjab and Haryana High Court related to governing bodies of the university refused to die down on Tuesday. While Registrar Colonel Guljit Singh Chadha (retd) sought withdrawal of the VC’s affidavit on directions of the Senate, Grover told the court that his views were personal and it would be unfortunate if the reforms were not initiated at PU.
Stating that the High Court’s suo motu notice makes it clear that the Vice-Chancellor’s submissions have to be given primacy in the hearings, Grover told the court that he is a significant stakeholder of the university and the resolutions passed by the Syndicate and Senate against his affidavit on governance reforms “are untenable as the same could amount to infringement of the aforementioned liberty” granted by the court to him.
“The views of the Vice-Chancellor of the University having been accorded primacy by the Hon’ble Court, and the deponent, being the Vice Chancellor of the University is bound to bring on record all the relevant facts and figures which would have bearing on the issues involved,” Grover told the court.
In an affidavit filed on April 17 during the hearing of the suo motu PIL on PU’s financial crisis, Grover had told the court that the governing structure of PU needs “a serious reform” due to the alleged groupism prevalent in the Senate. He had also highlighted the flaws in the election of the Syndicate members.
The Syndicate on April 21 had asked Grover to withdraw the affidavit “in the interest of image and prestige of the University and the members of the supreme body i.e. the Senate of Panjab University”. The Senate on May 6 also had directed the Registrar to initiate the process of withdrawal of the affidavit.
Chadha in a separate application on Tuesday sought withdrawal of the affidavit filed by the Vice-Chancellor while citing the directions passed to him by the Senate. However, the High Court adjourned the hearing till July and meanwhile sought the Centre and Punjab government’s response on the Registrar’s application for withdrawal of the V-C’s affidavit before proceeding further on the matter.
‘Not an adversarial litigation’
The division bench of Acting Chief Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal and Justice Anupinder Singh Grewal expressed concern over the controversy surrounding the affidavit and observed that the suo motu case is not an adversarial litigation but a public interest case for the welfare of the university.
While Grover told the division bench that the reforms are an absolute necessity for the university and his views are not the
submissions of the governing bodies, the division bench observed that it will go through the contentions raised by him in the affidavit. Grover’s short affidavit clarifying his position was taken on record by the court.
Meanwhile, the Punjab government told the division bench that it had transferred Rs 6.08 crore to the Panjab University on Monday through the RTGS system.