Published: 18th December 2020
Do the UGC rules actually state that Surappa's appointment is illegal? Here are the facts
We examined the UGC's norms and regulations about the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor of a university. Here's what we found
If a person has served as an IIT Director twice do the UGC rules say that he or she cannot be appointed as a Vice-Chancellor of a government university.
Turns out, there are no regulations to that effect.
On Tuesday, the Madras High Court had dismissed a petition by activist 'Traffic' K R Ramaswamy, seeking the removal of the Anna University Vice-Chancellor Dr M K Surappa. The petition said that Surppa's appointment was illegal because he had previously served terms as an IIT Director and an IISc Dean and that a certain UGC norm doesn't let someone hold a position of the same rank three times a row.
"He has served as the founder-director of Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar for a period of six years. He has served as a dean faculty of engineering at the Indian Institute of Science year from 2016-2017. These ranks are equivalent to that of a Vice-Chancellor and as per the UGC norms, a person cannot serve more than twice in the same rank of position [sic]," read the petition.
However, this norm is not specified by the University Grants Commission anywhere. "The Vice-Chancellor to be appointed should be a distinguished academician, with a minimum of ten years of experience as a Professor in a University system or ten years of experience in an equivalent position in a reputed research and/or academic administrative organisation," reads the provision set before the search committee. Nowhere does it specify the previous positions that they should have held.
However, the Anna University Act says that "the Vice-Chancellor shall hold office for a term of three years and shall be eligible for reappointment for no more than two successive terms." There are cases where exceptions can be made too.
Also, various other academicians in the country have held similar positions for more than two times a row. Case in point, UGC Chairman Dr D P Singh. He has served positions as the Vice-Chancellor of three universities — Dr Hari Singh Gour University, Madhya Pradesh, Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi and Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.
Disappointed by the Madras High Court's action, Ramaswamy is set to file another petition. "I will not give up," he said, though the chances of that petition not getting dismissed are miniscule.