The appointment procedure of Aligarh Muslim University’s vice-chancellor (V-C) has worked well for the institution and its unique character, incumbent head Tariq Mansoor told The Indian Express on Sunday. He was reacting to a government audit of the university, which recently recommended that AMU’s selection process of its V-C should be tweaked to align with the procedure followed by other Central universities.
“It (V-C appointment at AMU) is keeping in view the unique character and autonomy of our institution. This is laid down in the AMU Act, which was passed by Parliament,” he said. “It has worked very well (for AMU). Eminent persons have been appointed as vice-chancellors in the past – Hamid Ansari and Saiyid Hamid to name a few.”
Unlike other Centrally funded varsities, AMU has a unique process to select its head. The university’s Executive Council shortlists a panel of five candidates from received applications and forwards it to the AMU Court, which, in turn, selects three names and sends the list to the HRD Ministry. The President then appoints one out of the three finalists.
For most Central universities, a government-appointed search-cum-selection panel screens all applications and usually shortlists a panel of three names and forwards it to the HRD Ministry. The President appoints one of these three finalists as the V-C.
The UGC audit report has also flagged the culture of “inbreeding” in AMU, which, it observed, had affected the diversity in faculty appointments. The audit pointed out that many teachers were former students of the university and that there should be a gap year or a cooling-off period before an AMU alumnus is absorbed in the faculty.
Objecting to this recommendation, Mansoor said, “There is no rule in any other university such as Delhi University, BHU, Jamia Millia (Islamia) or JNU that bars students of the same university for faculty recruitment. If he is the best candidate, why can he not be eligible?”
“I don’t agree with the diversity point either. Our university has a historical character just like Jamia Millia, BHU… We have members of every caste and every religion, whether it is teachers, students or non-teaching staff. If you look at the medical faculty, we have 40 per cent non-Muslim teachers… There is diversity.”
“As far as national character is concerned, the university selects the candidate on merit and on basis of an all-India advertisement. We advertise vacancies in all national newspapers. Only those candidates who satisfy UGC norms are selected.”
Asked specifically about the audit’s observation that UGC norms seem to have been violated in faculty recruitment, he said, “If there are any individual cases, those have to be examined, but we cannot generalise.”
The UGC, at the behest of the HRD Ministry, has ordered an audit of 10 Central universities to probe complaints of financial, administrative and academic irregularities.
The higher education regulator had set up five committees to conduct an “academic, research, financial and infrastructure audit” of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Pondicherry University, Allahabad University, Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University in Uttarakhand, Central University of Jharkhand, Central University of Rajasthan, Central University of Jammu, Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya in Wardha, University of Tripura and Hari Singh Gour University in Madhya Pradesh.
AMU and Pondicherry University had been inspected by a panel that had IIT-Madras professor Shripad Karmalkar, Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati University V-C Kailash Sodani, Guwahati University professor Mazhar Asif and IIM-Bangalore professor Sankarshan Basu as members.
Mansoor clarified that the committee members had visited the campus a few days before he assumed charge as V-C on May 17.