The Human Resource Development Ministry has urged President Pranab Mukherjee to put Delhi University Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh on “compulsory wait” a few weeks before his tenure ends.
The President’s office received the ministry’s recommendation Wednesday night. If Mukherjee, who is the Visitor of all central universities, accepts the suggestion, Singh will lose the right to discharge duties as Vice Chancellor and, in effect, will remain a titular head till he completes his term on October 29. He will, however, continue to draw his salary till the end of his tenure.
According to DU sources, the government recommended this action against the V-C on the ground that Singh, as head of DU’s Executive Council, nominated an honorary professor of the university to the search-cum-selection panel, which is tasked to find the next head of the institution.
DU’s Executive Council had nominated K Kasturirangan, former ISRO chairman, and former CAG Vinod Rai as members of the selection committee in May. Kasturirangan, DU sources said, was appointed by Singh as “Honorary Professor for Life” at the university in 2013.
“As per rules, none of the members of the selection panel should have an association with the institution in order to ensure free and fair selection of candidates for the V-C’s post. Kasturirangan’s nomination violates that,” the source added.
The President’s press secretary Venu Rajamony did not wish to comment on the development. Singh did not respond to phone calls and SMSes by The Indian Express for comment. HRD Ministry spokesperson Ghanshyam Goel was not available for comment.
The government’s recommendation, if accepted by the Visitor, will signal an end to the year-long standoff between Singh and the HRD Ministry. The V-C’s future has been uncertain ever since the University Grants Commission, an autonomous body under the ministry, ordered the rollback of the four-year programme in June last year.
This was followed by a probe instituted by the ministry against him on allegations of administrative irregularities and financial mismanagement. In March this year, Singh became the first DU V-C to get a show-cause notice from the government and was asked to explain why he should not be removed from the post.
The notice asked him to explain why he jeopardised careers of thousands of students by introducing the Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP) without clearances. It also sought an explanation on why BTech courses were started by DU without the approval of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). That apart, he was also accused of diverting Rs 172 crore meant for OBC students to buy laptops for first year students.
The notice also asked him why the university, in an affidavit in Delhi High Court, called itself a ‘state’ under Article 12 of the Constitution. DU had asserted that since it is a ‘state’ it can have its own policy of reservation under Article 16(A) of the Constitution. It was withdrawn when it came to the UGC’s notice. The V-C, in a 26-page reply to the ministry, had rejected all the charges.