Chaos reigned at Delhi University Wednesday with two warring factions backing two different Registrars. By evening, the mayhem had resulted in one official presiding over the Executive Council (EC) meeting as Registrar, while another occupied the Registrar’s office despite having been ordered to vacate.
By night, a third person, Vikas Gupta, had been appointed Registrar by the EC, presided by Suman Kundu, who was hitherto Acting Registrar.
Kundu had taken over on September 2.
However, on Wednesday morning, a notification was put out by the Joint Registrar Establishment (N/T), handing over both posts to Professor P C Jha.
“Professor P C Jha…has been appointed as Director South Campus in place of Prof Suman Kundu… with immediate effect till further orders. Professor Jha will also act as Registrar, University of Delhi, as an interim arrangement, with immediate effect till further orders. This is issued with the approval of the Competent Authority,” the notification said.
Sources said the Competent Authority who made the appointment was Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi who has been on leave for months owing to ill health.
In place of him, Professor P C Joshi was made the Pro Vice-Chancellor and Acting V-C on June 28.
Even as there were murmurs in the DU teaching community over Jha’s surprise appointment on the day of an EC meeting, Joshi, in his capacity as the Acting VC, wrote to Jha over “illegal occupation” of the Registrar’s office.
“You are hereby directed to vacate the office of the Registrar which has been illegally occupied by you since the morning of October 21 which is unbecoming of a teacher of the University. This act on your part is hampering the functioning of the university. In case you are not vacating the office immediately, you will be forcibly moved out of office and action initiated against you,” wrote Joshi.
However, the situation continued to remain in a state of flux with Kundu attending the EC meeting and Jha occupying the Registrar’s office.
Sources said the trigger was infighting within two factions in the administration.
Kundu and Tyagi did not respond to calls and messages. Jha said “there was no chaos”. Asked about Kundu presiding over the EC meeting, he said, “He cannot preside; that is illegal.” Asked why he didn’t preside, Jha said, “You should ask Professor Joshi. The EC meeting was already postponed and email sent to all EC members.”
Joshi said, “Professor Tyagi is on medical leave. If he has to join back, he has to show a medical fitness certificate and then join. Till then I’m the VC. I said Professor Jha is illegally occupying the office as I have not appointed him.”
Joshi also said the email on postponement of EC could not be considered valid as it was made by an “illegal Registrar”.
At least two EC members, Rajesh Jha and VS Negi, said they had not received any intimation of a postponement.
On Joshi’s letter asking him to vacate, Jha said, “Who is he? He’s the PVC. He’s not the appointing authority. Professor Tyagi is the appointing authority and he made his decision.”
DU Teachers’ Association President Rajib Ray said the events of Wednesday had “never happened before in the history of the University”. “This will only destabilise the University and damage its reputation,” he said.
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