Greetings to His Excellency, the President of India!
His Excellency, the President of India might have been well aware of the 134 days old ongoing Manipur University Disaster regarding the removal of Prof. Adya Prasad Pandey from the Vice-Chancellorship of Manipur University on the ground of his administrative and financial irregularities that have totally jeopardised the functioning of the Manipur University in every direction.
Never in the history of independent India had such a thing happened where an academic institute of highest learning stands completely deadlocked for 85 days (almost three months; 30 May 2018 – 22 August 2018) by virtue of the incapacity, misconduct and violation of statutory provisions by an incompetent and irresponsible Vice-Chancellor and the subsequent and continuing military siege of the Manipur University from the intervening night of Thursday, 20 September 2018 and Friday, 21 September 2018 in the aftermath of the arbitrary directives from one Mr. Vijay Kumar, Under Secretary to the Government of India inciting one Prof. K. Yugindro Singh (under suspension vide MU Office Order No.MU/3-159/85/85/FCY dated the 18th September 2018) to hold the charge of Vice Chancellor, Manipur University. The whole of Manipur University Fraternity - the Manipur University Students’ Union (MUSU), the Manipur University Teachers’ Association (MUTA) and the Manipur University Staff Association (MUSA) have stood together for the ouster of Prof. Adya Prasad Pandey from the Vice-Chancellorship of Manipur University for his dictatorial regime in running the Manipur University by bringing down the sanctity of a university at its lowest form. Amongst the several charges levelled against Prof. Adya Prasad Pandey, the most crucial ones include the non-functioning of the important statutory bodies comprising the Executive Council, the Academic Council and the University Court in clear violation of the Manipur University Act, 2005, norms and precedents; and the payment of Rs. 2,00,000.00 (Rupees Two Lakh) to Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), Manipur.
Normalcy resumed in the academic atmosphere of the Manipur University after signing the landmark Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Manipur University Community and the Joint Secretary of the Union Ministry of Human Resource, Government of India on 16 August 2018 in the presence of the Commissioner (Higher & Technical Education), Manipur and the Chief Minister of Manipur and his Council of Ministers. The University reopened from the 23 August 2018 with examination results declared and processes for admission to MA/MSc Courses being initiated.
Fresh crisis has flared up again at Manipur University since 1 September 2018 after Prof. Adya Prasad Pandey (on leave till the completion of the enquiry, corroborated by the MU Office Order No. MU/VC/02 dated the 30th August 2018) declared his resumption of work in a self-issued order as the Vice-Chancellor of Manipur University and single-handedly banning teachers and staff associations of the Manipur University in total disrespect of the MOA and the Enquiry Committee instituted. The wilful actions of Prof. Adya Prasad Pandey in issuing repeated unwarranted orders appointing different posts in the Manipur University admist pending enquiry against him has again pulled down the university into turmoil. The Manipur University has triggered into an undeclared war zone with the deployment of a large number of security forces including central paramilitary forces apart from the state police forces after the 20-21 September 2018 midnight military onslaught of the university campus. The arrest and subsequent detention of several students and teachers has ravaged the sanctity of the academic atmosphere of the university bringing the normal functioning of the university into an abrupt halt and chaos. The military siege of the Manipur University and excessive atrocities meted out to the students and the teachers shall ever remain written in black letters in the annals of the history of Indian democracy in general and the oppressed history of Manipur in particular. It would not be unjust to say that the act of continued putting of Manipur University till writing this letter under military siege is an act of State Terrorism.
We are writing to bring some key issues regarding the Manipur University Impasse to the notice of His Excellency, the President of India, the largest democracy in the world and bring forth a viable solution to save the Manipur University from possible extinction.
Nullifying every competent order issued regarding giving leave to Prof. Adya Prasad Pandey and the terms of the leave, the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed on 16 August 2018 placed the leave of Prof. Adya Prasad Pandey on extension till the completion of the enquiry of the “Two Men Independent Enquiry Committee” and the follow-up action taken on the enquiry report by the competent authority. As such, Prof. Adya Prasad Pandey’s unwarranted order dated the 10th September 2018 regarding the appointment of one Prof. K. Yugindro Singh, Department of Physics as a Pro-Vice-Chancellor without the approval of the Executive Council, Manipur University is null and void since Prof. Adya Prasad Pandey has been on official leave vis-a-vis pending enquiry against him and does not have any legal authority to appoint someone as a Pro-Vice-Chancellor. The Section 4 common to both the “Statutes of the University” under the Manipur University Act 2005 and the “Statutes of the University” under the Central Universities Act 2009 clearly states that:
“The Pro-Vice-Chancellor shall be appointed by the Executive Council on the recommendation of the Vice-Chancellor.
Provided that where the recommendation of the Vice-Chancellor is not accepted by the Executive Council, the matter shall be referred to the Visitor who may either appoint the person recommended by the Vice-Chancellor or ask the Vice-Chancellor to recommend another person to the Executive Council.
Provided further that the Executive Council may, on the recommendation of the Vice-Chancellor, appoint a Professor to discharge the duties of a Pro-Vice-Chancellor in addition to his own duties as a Professor.”
As no Executive Council Meeting was held after the last meeting of 28 February 2018 regarding the appointment of a Pro-Vice-Chancellor, the position of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Manipur University shall be deemed still lying vacant and hence the appointment of a Pro-VC by Prof. Adya Prasad Pandey (on leave and then suspended by an MHRD Order on 17 September 2018); the arbitrary directives, dated the 19th September 2018 from one Mr. Vijay Kumar, Under Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Higher Education, Government of India and Prof. Shyamkesho’s (under suspension since 7 September 2018) notification (Office Order dated the 18th September 2018) regarding assigning Prof. K. Yugindro Singh as the Pro-Vice-Chancellor as well as the Vice-Chancellor in-charge of Manipur University have no legal validity rather than an act of the violation of the Manipur University Act 2005 and the Central Universities Act 2009 and the complete violation of the MOA signed on 16 August 2018. Both Prof. Adya Prasad Pandey and Prof. Shyamkesho Singh may be entitled for befitting Statute of Limitations.
The Manipur University Debacle made a U-turn when Prof. Adya Prasad Pandey filed a petition at the High Court of Manipur on 5 September 2018 challenging the MOA signed between the Manipur University Community, the State Government and the Union Ministry of Human Resource. The 17 September 2018 hearing of the Writ petition filed by Prof. Adya Prasad was deferred as the High Court of Manipur was told about the filing of an SLP before the Supreme Court of India by Prof. Adya Prasad Pandey, who could not produce relevant documents before the High Court of Manipur. The filing of the SLP by Prof. Adya Prasad Pandey at the Supreme Court of India before any judgement is made by the High Court of Manipur regarding his plea is in complete violation of the spirit of the Article 136 of the Constitution of India, of which His Excellency, the President of India is the Guardian. This act of Prof. Adya Prasad Pandey is against the ethos Constitution of India, and if not checked, it may upset the constitutional law and the democratic secular character of this vast country.
The Manipur International Youth Centre (MIYC) congratulates His Excellency, the President of India in serving the nation as the 14th President of India. We pray that the Almighty God shall grant His Excellency, the President of India wisdom and health to lead the country in this.
As the guardian of the Constitution, we convey through this letter the concern of the Manipur University Community in particular and the Manipur People in general about the present scenario in Manipur University with thousands of students on the brink of losing their bright academic career and make this solemn urge to bring an end to the ongoing Manipur Univeristy Disaster by demilitarising the Manipur University and by removing Prof. Adya Prasad Pandey from the Vice-Chancellorship of Manipur University in your capacity as the Visitor of the Manipur University and in exercise of the powers conferred on you under the provisions of the Statute 2(5) of the Central Universities Act 2009, which states (excerpt):
“Notwithstanding anything contained in Clause (4), the Visitor may, at any time after the Vice-Chancellor has entered upon his office, by order in writing remove the Vice-Chancellor from office on grounds of incapacity, misconduct or violation of statutory provisions:”
May your term as the President of India be blessed by the Almighty God so that your office could be a blessing to all citizens of the country!
Manipur International Youth Centre (MIYC)
Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents.