Published: 25th March 2021
"Illegal, backdoor" appointment of Registrar reflects badly on the government: JNUTA asks MoE to take action
The JNUTA said that the Executive Council is supposed to appoint the Registrar but no such action was taken by the EC. And this is just one of their latest allegations
The teachers' association of the Jawaharlal Nehru University has raised questions about the recent appointment of Dr Anirban Chakraborti as the Registrar. The JNU Teachers' Association (JNUTA) said that the appointment was made without the Executive Council's know-how and termed the appointment a "backdoor" and "illegal" action. The teachers said that they were disappointed that the Ministry of Education (MoE) has not responded to any of their complaints about the alleged illegalities.
JNUTA Secretary Dr Mousumi Basu said that they would like the MoE to take up the issues of a "series of illegalities" at the university. "We have pointed out three issues in the last statement — illegal appointment of the Registrar, the inclusion of the Registrar in the EC and the Vice-Chancellor being involved in policy decisions and recruitment even though the MoE directives say that he has to stop being involved in these actions two months prior to his retirement as the VC," she said. "I am amazed that the Ministry has taken no cognizance. It is not just us but the Delhi High Court which has found illegalities. We have brought the issues out, written to the MoE as well. We hope they will take this matter up. Otherwise, it reflects badly on the government," added Dr Basu.
The JNUTA said that the Executive Council is supposed to appoint the Registrar but no such action was taken by the EC. "It was on March 17 through an Office Order issued by Deputy Registrar Administration that the university was informed about the appointment of a new Registrar. Like in all other matters, the letter stated that the decision made had the 'approval of the Competent Authority," read a statement by the JNUTA. They questioned what the notice meant by 'competent authority' and that the EC which is supposed to appoint the Registrar had no role to play in this. "Statute 8(1) of University rules categorically states that the 'Registrar shall be appointed by the Executive Council'. It may be noted that there has been no Executive Council meeting where the EC has deliberated on the matter or approval for this decision has been specifically sought. The newly appointed Registrar’s backdoor entry into the Executive Council by a fiat issued by the Vice-Chancellor, therefore, is not just suspect but also illegal." the statement read.
Within a week of his appointment, Dr Chakraborti, a professor of the School of Computational and Integrative Sciences, had brought out a notice stating that a 'section' of the teachers have been trying to damage the reputation of the varsity and malign the Vice-Chancellor as well. "These faculty members seem to be only interested in damaging the reputation and public image of JNU by spreading stories about the conduct of the Academic Council meeting and decisions taken in it. During the meeting, a large number of council members from assistant professors to senior professors and deans of schools, participated in the deliberations in a very democratic and enthusiastic manner and arrived at the decisions," said the statement released on March 23. This statement came after the JNUTA called the VC a 'caretaker'.
JNUTA, in their latest statement, defended their position and clarified why they used the term. "JNU is a Centrally funded university and no matter what the caretaker Vice-Chancellor may claim, the University Statutes explicitly do not allow for a second term for any Vice-Chancellor. The only leeway provided is his continuance as an interim VC till the new incumbent is appointed. Therefore, like it or not, he is by law, a caretaker Vice-Chancellor with restricted powers serving an interim period till the new appointee takes charge," said the statement.