In a dramatic twist in the ongoing tussle between Delhi University Vice-Chancellor (V-C) Yogesh Tyagi and Pro V-C P C Joshi, the union government snubbed Tyagi on Thursday, declaring his contentious appointments to the Registrar’s post as invalid.
The Ministry of Education (MoE) also instructed DU to not act on Tyagi’s orders until he joined office after submitting a medical fitness certificate “issued by the competent authority who treated him”.
Joshi would continue to act as the head of the university until then.
Joshi and Tyagi had gone head-to-head on Wednesday over the appointment of a new Registrar — a faceoff that resulted in the unprecedented situation of three people being appointed Registrar in the course of the day.
Tyagi has been on leave ever since he was admitted to AIIMS on July 2 under “emergency medical condition”. The government had given Joshi charge of V-C on July 17 until Tyagi resumed office.
The order signals the government’s unhappiness with Tyagi. Sources said the Ministry is upset at not having been officially informed of the V-C’s absence from office.
“He hasn’t been attending office, and till two days ago he wasn’t fit enough to attend the Parliamentary Committee’s his order on Registrar meeting on SC/ST welfare. His orders will be valid once he resumes duty officially,” a senior officer told The Indian Express.
Before the government intervened on Thursday evening, the power tussle had intensified, with Tyagi issuing orders ousting Joshi with immediate effect.
Joshi was replaced by Geeta Bhatt, a member of the BJP-backed National Democratic Teachers’ Front and a leading member of the Group of Intellectuals & Academics, which had issued a report stating the Delhi riots were allegedly orchestrated by “Jihadis” and “Urban Naxals”. The report was later turned into a book published by Garuda Prakashan.
The DU Registrar’s office remained double locked on Thursday. Sources said both opposing camps had locked it late at night.
On Wednesday morning, just hours before an Executive Council (EC) meeting was to begin, P C Jha was made the Registrar replacing Suman Kundu, at Tyagi’s behest.
Joshi, however, deemed the appointment “illegal” as he had not made it – and asked Jha to vacate the office. Kundu chaired the EC meeting as the Registrar.
By night, a third person, Vikas Gupta, had been appointed Registrar by the EC unanimously.
Accordingly, on Thursday morning, Joshi signed an office order as the Pro V-C announcing that Gupta had joined as the Registrar.
Hours later, however, Tyagi removed Joshi. “In pursuance of the power vested with the Vice-Chancellor… I appoint Dr Geeta Bhatt, Director, Non-Collegiate Women’s Education Board, as Pro Vice-Chancellor, University of Delhi, in place of Professor P C Joshi… with immediate effect till further orders… This be reported to the Executive Council,” Tyagi wrote, on the basis of which Jha issued an official notification.
Later in the day, Bhatt issued an office order quashing Joshi’s order appointing Gupta as the Registrar. She said the order was “in violation of the orders” issued by the V-C and “without any jurisdiction and lawful authority”.
Bhatt wrote: “It is an abuse of process of law stipulated in the Delhi University Act, Statutes and Ordinances. Therefore, the said impugned order dated October 22 and any other such orders/notifications/minutes issued by the then Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor P C Joshi which are contrary to the Delhi University Act 1992 and orders of the Competent Authority of the University Professor Yogesh K Tyagi, Vice-Chancellor are null and void.”
Interestingly, the Ministry’s letter on Thursday was addressed to Gupta, and not Jha.
The Ministry wrote: “…It has been brought to the notice that a notification of charge of Registrar was issued on 21.10.2020 morning even before the working hours of the University without active knowledge of the Prof. P C Joshi who is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor having charge Vice-Chancellor at present as per the statute of the university and an attempt was made to block the conduct of Executive Council meeting scheduled on 21.10.2020 and functioning of the University by the Acting Registrar appointed by Prof. Yogesh Tyagi, who is on leave.”
The letter went on to state that Tyagi’s orders would not be valid unless he officially joins office after submitting a medical fitness certificate, and that Joshi would act as V-C until then.
“It may be ensured that admission process, recruitment and academic activities in the light of present Covid situation may be conducted unhindered as per schedule without any delay,” the letter said.
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