The Union HRD Ministry has served a showcause notice to the vice-chancellor of Hemvati Nanda Bahuguna Garhwal (HNBG) University this week asking him why he should not be sacked for his alleged “incapacity” to run the institution.
The Indian Express has learnt that V-C Jawahar Lal Kaul has been given three weeks to present his defence regarding five allegations, including the charge of approving backdated affiliation to a few teacher training institutes. He is also accused of allowing the university to declare examination results of some private institutes when the status of their affiliation to the university was under the scanner.
As first reported by this newspaper on February 4, the ministry had sent a proposal to the President’s office seeking approval to issue a showcause notice to Kaul based on the conclusions of a two-member fact-finding committee.
The panel was set up to probe complaints from the Central Vigilance Commission last year alleging administrative mismanagement by the V-C. The President, who is the Visitor of all central universities, is learnt to have approved ministry’s proposal this week.
The Central Universities Act of 2009, which covers 16 central universities set up by the UPA government, empowers the HRD Ministry to fire the V-Cs on grounds of incapacity, misconduct or violation of statutory provisions. HNBG University is covered under this law and the showcause notice was issued under Section 2(5) of the Act.
Kaul was not reachable for comment on Tuesday. He was appointed as V-C in November 2014, when Smriti Irani was the HRD Minister. He is also the second head of a central university appointed during Irani’s term, who has come under scanner for irregularities, after she moved to the Textiles Ministry in July last year. The HRD Ministry, under her successor Prakash Javadekar, had also issued showcause notice to Allahabad Central University head R L Hangloo in 2016. Hangloo was also appointed during Irani’s term in December 2015.
The Narendra Modi government has seen seven central university V-Cs under the scanner for administrative, financial and academic irregularities. Kaul is the eighth such V-C.
Under Irani, the ministry, in an unprecedented move, had fired heads of Visva-Bharati University and Pondicherry University. Inquiries were initiated against the IGNOU head, former V-C of Delhi University and current chief of Jamia Millia Islamia. Javadekar has moved a proposal for Visitorial Inquiry against Allahabad Central University and Aligarh Muslim University V-Cs.