The AMU Executive Council has unanimously forwarded a panel of five names to the University Court to select three names to be sent to the President of India as the Visitor for selecting one of them as the Vice Chancellor of AMU, AMU Teachers’ Association said in a release.
“This step has unfortunately muddied the waters further instead of bringing clarity to the process. The law as it stands today (UGC Regulations 2010 as well as Supreme Court Judgments) doesn’t allow the EC or Court to directly consider names of prospective candidates for Vice Chancellorship, The University as of date is seeking an exemption from that stipulation, but till such exemption is granted a legitimate question is that what is the law today?
“Some other problems are:
“How is it possible for members of different hues and ideas to have unanimity on such an issue where ‘argument and dissent are the signs of life’, At a time when everyone is talking of voting and exercising of ,democratic rights, the regimentation of ideas and disciplining of the members seems odd and sets a very bad example of conformity. Our perception of this being the outcome of either fear or innocence brings to mind the phrases ‘silence of the graveyard’ or ‘silence of the lambs’ as well as Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘1984’.
“It is very respectfully pointed out to the members of the EC that last year in March 2016 also the EC had met and approved a panel for the prospective VC of AMU. The AMUTA had then raised many ponderables; such as candidates being present while their names were being discussed as well as the eligibility criteria for empanelment, apart from the fact that the panel formation was premature as fourteen months of General Shah’s tenure were left.
“Later on in a totally unprecedented and completely illegal action the recommendations of a legally constituted and valid meeting of the highest governing body disappeared in thin air.
“It’s a reflection of our fear of questioning the powers that be that except for AMUTA even the members of the august body kept quiet and to the best of our knowledge have not said anything till now; to at least ensure that the recommendations of today’s meeting do not suffer the same fate as last year’s.
“We would also like to emphasise that the Government of India has also till now turned a Nelson’s eye towards this blatant trampling and violation of all procedures for reasons that are best known to them.
“The UGC Regulations 2010 that were adopted by AMU in Dec 2010 stipulate that now the EC can only recommend names of members of a search panel/committee that shall be chaired by a nominee of the Visitor. The committee shall itself search as well as consider names for the future VC after an advertisement has been made by both the University as well as UGC/MHRD. This means individual names of future VC are beyond the purview of the EC. ( the case on whether one can de-adopt a provision eleven months after its acceptance is sub-judice).
“It may be noted that Jamia Millia Islamia (a minority institution) has been following this procedure without any damage to its character.
“Further the Regulations mandate that the members of the search committee should have no connection with the University whose VC they are searching for, here we are all very much members of that University.
“There are also issues such as whether persons who have not had sufficient teaching experience or have never been appointed formally as Professor despite being eminent researchers and academics qualify?
“The panel of names today has been made in accordance with the AMU Act 1982, where careful crafting has been done to include only academics but, it is far short of the UGC Regulations as names were not to be discussed and a different procedure was to be adopted.
“The Registrar became a candidate and the duties of that office in the EC were carried out by whom?
“An excerpt from the resolution of the AMUTA passed in April 2016 is given below to refresh everyone’s memory
“Unanimous resolution passed by the Executive Committee of AMUTA at its meeting held on April 5, 2016 at 4:30 P.M. at the AMU Staff Club
“2 The AMUTA Executive Committee has been advising the AMU Administration not to rush through the panel of names for the future VC of AMU, as being illegal on the grounds of it being drawn up prematurely and by not being based on the qualifications set out in UGC Regulations 2010. The fact that it was also afoul of a March 2015 letter from the Ministry of Human Resource Development and our own Regulations debarring aspirant members for the post of VC from voting were treated as non-est. However, our warnings were ignored and , allegations were leveled at our motives for the same. Our apprehension (later substantiated) that the purpose of the exercise was to ease the arguments for the eligibility case were brushed aside and dismissed.
“Today the AMU Registrar has come out with a notification that the meeting of the University Court scheduled for April 7, 2016 stands postponed as in the panel for the future VC two members “unknowingly” voted and got disqualified on the basis of ‘conflict of interest’. We wonder if ignorance of a rule can be an excuse, whereas we have it on good authority that the matter and its implications were discussed by members and a consensus sought to be evolved. This development stops an illegality from being perpetuated but, may, if not followed up properly, result in further more serious complications arising from some basic mistakes. For example who can annul a resolution of the Executive Council?
“Who has the power and where is it given whereby the Registrar can notify cancellation of a meeting?
“In whom is vested the power to disqualify a properly elected person from the panel of names of the future VC? It should be remembered that this panel was drawn up by a properly and legally convened meeting of the AMU EC, that did admittedly adopt a faulty/questionable procedure that, arrived at a wrong decision but it doesn’t automatically lead to negation of that or any other resolution.
“No one except the President of India in his capacity of Visitor can exercise this power and certainly not the Vice Chancellor and definitely not the Registrar. In the case of a teacher in the Department of English the procedural lapse as well as exercise of a non-existent power by two statutory bodies was annulled by the Visitor after due procedure. The Apex Court had upheld the same. An identical process has to be followed in the instant case.
“This disqualification has shifted attention from the basic issue of UGC 2010 regulations and the premature drawing up of the panel. Would we have another bout of disqualifications when it is realized that the UGC Regulations 2010 were adopted many years before the letter of 2015 (not yet adopted) was issued.
“Moreover, does disqualification imply that the persons disqualified, have to compulsorily miss, the current round of the panel of names for VC after the term of Lt. Gen. Zameeruddin Shah (Retd.) is over, similar to the rules for using unfair means in examinations?
(Issued by S Mustafa Zaidi)
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are personal
CAPTION: The current VC photo via AMU