Yes, the state government cannot do anything to the demand of the Manipur University community for removal Vice Chancellor Prof. A P Pandey as the University being a Central University is beyond the purview of the state government. To be précised so far there is no provision to sack any Vice Chancellor of any Central University even though the selection was done by the President of India as per recommendation by the Union HRD Ministry.
It’s a general proceeding that the selection process of VC for Central University starts with the HRD Ministry setting up a search-cum-selection committee to scrutinise applications and invite candidates for an interview. The committee then submits a panel of finalists (usually 3-4) to the Ministry, which forwards it to the President. The President selects one person from the list, after which appointment orders are formally issued.
There are, however, no established provisions to sack the V-C of a central university.
But, is there any case of VC being dismissed in the History of Indian Universities. Well 2 Vice Chancellors – one of a State University and another from the Central University were dismissed. For the state University there are certain provision to dismiss the VC but for the Central University how it happened should be a matter that the government need to look upon as, there are no provisions to sack VC of a central University.
Well for the first time, Sushanta Dattagupta, the Vice Chancellor of Visva-Bharati, a central university was sacked by the President of India, who is also the visitor of all Central University in February 2016, seven months before the end of his term.
Dattagupta, was removed by invoking Section 16 of the General Clauses Act, 1897, which empowers the appointing authority under any central Act or regulation — the President in this case — to “suspend or dismiss any person appointed”.
He was sacked after alleged complaints of financial and administrative irregularities committed by the appointing authority. In February 2015, the HRD Ministry set up a three-member committee to probe the complaints. The probe found him guilty, and a showcause notice was served in June, 2015. Unsatisfied with his reply, the Ministry recommended his removal to the President on September 21, 2015, on the grounds that he made irregular/illegal appointments, with the appointees in most cases failing to meet eligibility criteria prescribed by the University Grants Commission. The committee also found Dattagupta getting personal bills for alcoholic beverages reimbursed by the university during his stay at the India International Centre in New Delhi during August-September 2012, which is a “serious case of financial impropriety”. There are also other irregularities found by the committee.
He was sacked by the Governor of Maharastra Vidyasagar Rao, who is also the Chancellor of the University for failure gross negligence & failure to announce the results of the of the March 2017 university exams in time.
The government of Manipur may think they are helpless to give a hand to end the impasse going on for over 40 days at Manipur University demanding removal of the Vice Chancellor. Well the Chief Minister Knows that the MU community will not withdraw their stand for removal of the VC. In that case why the HRD Ministry is not being urged to recommend for resignation of the VC Prof. AP Pandey for the similar kind of allegations to Prof. Sushanta Dattagupta, of Visva-Bharati.
On the day, when police unleashed reign of terror to college students in front of the Chief Minister Bungalow, Governor of Manipur, who is also the Rector of the Manipur University had expressed serious concerns to the injury of the students. As stated by MUSU leaders, the Governor during a meeting on the day had stated that during her meeting with Prof. Pandey she said she cannot solve the issue by using security personels with guns and doing lathicharge to the innocent students as they are not terrorist.
The Governor had also reported the matter to the Prime Minister’s Office last week with details of the agitation and to intervene.
When the governor is bold enough and is showing serious concern to the fate of the students why the Chief Minister could not stand up like him. Is the Prof. AP Pandey everything to ensure safety of his government? If so better throw a resignation as without people it is no use to be a leader.
William Gurumayum, Sub-Editor of Imphal Times is a resident of Sagolband Salam Leikai. He has been with Imphal Times since beginning. A avid adventure lover, writes mostly travelogue.