Girish Chandra Tripathi retired as vice-chancellor of Banaras Hindu University this week, but his association with the institution will not end for another six months at least.
Tripathi chaired a meeting of the Board of Governors of IIT-BHU on Thursday. Contacted by The Indian Express, he confirmed his presence at the meeting and said he will continue to serve as chairman as the government had appointed him to the post in 2015 in his “personal capacity”. The meeting was not held in IIT-BHU but at Central University of Tibetan Studies at Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh.
The decision to appoint Tripathi as IIT-BHU chairman in July 2015, while he was the BHU V-C, was taken despite objections raised by two HRD Ministry officials.
The IIT Act states that the BHU V-C will be chairman of IIT-BHU only for the first three years after setting up of the institution, after which she/he can be the vice-chairman. The institution was made an IIT in 2012 and Tripathi’s predecessor at BHU, Lalji Tandon, had served as IIT-BHU chairman for three years.
The two ministry officials had pointed out that Tripathi’s appointment, after lapse of the first three years, would violate the Act. However, the HRD ministry, then under Smriti Irani, overruled the objections and appointed Tripathi to the post in his “personal capacity”.
The IIT-BHU Board of Governors’ meeting was first called by Rajeev Sangal, director of IIT-BHU, in the second week of this month, after consulting the HRD Ministry. The government had authorised him to officiate as the chairman as Tripathi was on indefinite leave from the university as BHU V-C.
Tripathi was at the centre of a storm in September over his alleged mishandling of protests by women students over an incident of alleged sexual harassment. He went on leave on October 2.
Sources said Tripathi had objected to the government’s move to permit IIT-BHU to hold the Board of Governors’ meeting without him and asked for the meeting to be rescheduled to November 30. Routine matters like revision of teachers’ payscale were on agenda.