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Friday, November 27, 2020

Explained: The events leading to suspension of Delhi University Vice-Chancellor

On Wednesday, the President placed Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi – who has been on medical leave since July – under suspension after giving nod to an inquiry against him.

Written by Aranya Shankar , Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 3, 2020 2:25:09 pm
DU Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi. (Express photo: Amit Mehra)

After a public tussle between top Delhi University (DU) officials leading to the university having two Registrars and two Pro Vice-Chancellors at the same time last week, the matter reached the Education Ministry which then approached the President – the Visitor of the university.

On Wednesday, the President placed Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi – who has been on medical leave since July – under suspension after giving nod to an inquiry against him.

What are the events that led to DU having two Registrars and two Pro VCs?

The issue emerged on October 21, when Tyagi appointed a new Acting Registrar PC Jha on the day an Executive Council (EC) meeting of the university was scheduled. Sources say he was miffed as names of the permanent appointments to the post of Registrar were to be revealed in the EC meeting and those had not been shared with Tyagi despite his request. Pro V-C P C Joshi (also Acting V-C) saw Jha’s appointment as “illegal” and argued that since Tyagi was on leave, and he had not appointed Jha, the appointment could not be valid.

Joshi then held the EC meeting without Jha, but with then-Acting Registrar Suman Kundu presiding over it. During the meeting, Vikas Gupta was elected Registrar by the EC. In retaliation, Tyagi, in his capacity as V-C, removed Joshi as Pro VC and replaced him with Geeta Bhatt. Thus, DU came to have two Registrars and two Pro VCs, with none willing to back down.  📣 Express Explained is now on Telegram

Where do things stand right now?

Much back and forth happened in the following days with both sides issuing one notice after the other to declare the other side’s orders “null and void”. The team that called Tyagi’s appointments finally got a major boost with the Education Ministry setting aside Tyagi’s appointments and then approaching the Visitor to initiate an inquiry against him over several issues, including “unauthorised absence” from DU. As of now, Joshi and Gupta are the Ministry’s recognised officials, but that has not prevented Jha from asserting his claim.

What is the context of this face-off?

Factionalism within the RSS-backed National Democratic Teachers’ Front (NDTF), the impending end of Tyagi’s tenure in March 2021, and the fight to have a say in who is appointed the next VC is at the centre of the conflict, insiders say. According to an Academic Council member, the EC becomes crucial as it proposes two names for the Search Committee which ultimately suggests names for the next DU V-C. Since both camps want their people in the race, and the Registrar is the secretary of the EC, factionalism gained impetus.

Whose claim is legitimate?

It is the same Statute 11-H, clause (5) which is being used by both sides to defend their case. The statute states: “When the Vice-Chancellor is on leave or is away from town for any other reason, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor shall perform the functions of the Vice-Chancellor”. While the pro-Joshi camp says this gives him power since Tyagi is still not officially back from leave, the pro-Tyagi camp has drawn a distinction between performing functions “of” the VC, and “as” the V-C, arguing that the latter is what was happening and which was illegal.

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