The Human Resource Development Ministrys decision to rush through the appointments of vice-chancellors of 15 new Central universities in the last one month is likely to be challenged in court. The ministrys list,which received the presidential approval on Saturday,just ahead of the coming into force of the model code of conduct,has shocked the academic fraternity with professors planning to file a public interest litigation. In January,the HRD Ministry had promulgated an ordinance to create 12 new Central varsities and upgrade three existing varsities to Central university status with the legislation getting parliamentary approval only last week.
Prof Kapil Kumar who teaches History at IGNOU and is also the president of the IGNOU Teachers Association plans to file a PIL on the issue next week. In higher education it is expected that certain high standards for academic ethics should be maintained. While V-Cs of all Central universities had standing instructions not to make any appointments and announce any policy decision at least three months ahead of Lok Sabha elections,the HRD Ministry,instead of taking an exemplary stand,has gone ahead and appointed V-Cs to these universities after this Lok Sabha has met for the last time the previous week, Prof Kumar said.
He has also raised questions on how the 1,400 applications for these coveted posts could have been screened,shortlisted and selected in as short as a months time and after merely three sittings of the selection committee.
Why is there just one committee/panel for selection of candidates for 14-15 posts? There are people on the committee who themselves have applied for these posts. This is all against academic ethics and I strongly object and will be filing a PIL on it, Prof Kumar said.
The HRD Ministry had,in January,invited applications for selection of V-Cs for the varsities to be set up this academic year. The hasty appointments had even invited the censure of the members of the selection committee headed by Planning Commission member Bhalchandra Mungekar.