West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS) Vice-Chancellor P Ishwara Bhat on Wednesday tendered his resignation citing “health and family reasons”. The move follows protests by NUJS students, seeking Bhat’s removal over allegations of administrative and academic malpractice.
In a letter to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, who is also the Chancellor of NUJS, Bhat said, “It has been a great privilege and honour to serve this University which I have done with full sincerity, in accordance with law and to the best of my ability. However due to health and family reasons, I would be unable to serve the University in the capacity of Vice-Chancellor. Therefore, I would like to tender my resignation from the position of the Vice-Chancellor that shall come into effect on April 7th 2018 after the meeting of the Executive Council.”
He also wrote that he would place the report of the University Review Commission before the Executive Council in its next meeting, as instructed by Justice Misra.
Confirming the development, NUJS Registrar (acting) Sarfaraz Ahmed Khan told The Indian Express, “Yes, he has sent his resignation to the chancellor with effect from April 7 after the executive council meeting. He is the chairman of the executive council and he will place the University Review Commission’s report in the executive council meeting on April 7, which will be his last executive council meeting.”
Bhat did not respond to phone calls and text messages from The Indian Express.
The recently released Review Commission report had mentioned lapses in the administration of the university, following which the Students Juridical Association (SJA) at NUJS demanded Bhat’s ouster on March 26. In a statement to the Executive Council of NUJS, the SJA delivered an ultimatum to the Vice-Chancellor to resign by March 28. Since then, the students have been protesting for the V-C’s resignation.
The SJA statement read, “The report depicts the abject failure of this institution to uphold its core values in the recent years under the tenure of the incumbent Vice Chancellor. Last night (March 25, 2018), an overwhelming majority of the Student Juridical Association in its General Body meeting vowed to ensure the appointment of a suitable Vice Chancellor… Resultantly, we demand Prof. Bhat’s resignation on grounds of his proven incapacity and moral culpability by 9.00 AM on March 28, 2018 (Wednesday).”
Fourth-year BA-LLB student Kushagr Bakshi told The Indian Express, “We had several grievances against the V-C.”