Important decisions are pending in the Delhi University due to a delay in appointing the core team of university officials by the new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Yogesh Tyagi who took charge in March 2016. The VC has to present the core team nominations on the Executive Council’s (EC) floor for a final endorsement. However, the Executive Council of the university has not been convened since 13 October last year, which has led to “confusion” among the teachers about the “line of command” that is to be followed to take decision on urgent matters.
As of now, the core team of the Vice-Chancellor, which consists of the Dean of Colleges, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and the Director of South Campus have been appointed on a temporary basis. In fact, the Director of South Campus has also been given the charge of Pro-Vice-Chancellor, which means that only two people are taking care of three most important posts in DU. There have also been rumours that the VC, Prof Tyagi is not drawing his salary due to “issues” between the university and him.
Sources within the university said, “The reason is that the salary that Prof Tyagi is supposed to draw at DU is said to be less than what he was getting at the South Asian University, where he was earlier appointed. Delhi University has a fixed amount of maximum salary that a VC can withdraw. Therefore, the limit cannot be increased and Prof Tyagi had been drawing a salary in dollars which would obviously be higher than what the DU is offering him.”
However, the delay in appointing core university officials and convening the EC has led to a piling up of urgent work in DU. Explaining the procedure for appointments, Ajay Bhagi, the teachers’ representative in the EC and a professor at Dayal Singh College, said, “The vice-chancellor is the authority who nominates the university officials. The nominated university officials are brought on the EC’s floor to finalise their appointments. Technically, there may be nothing wrong in giving ad hoc charges to various faculty members, but the issue must be brought before the EC in due course. Thus a meeting of the EC should have been convened in any case so that all matters, including the appointment of the core team, could have been formally resolved. The reluctance of the VC to call a meeting of the EC has foxed one and all and various kinds of interpretations are at play, with teacher activists fuelling speculation about the continuation of Prof Tyagi in his current job.”
C.S. Rawat, vice-president, Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA), said, “Out of 22 members of the EC, a majority are nominated by the VC himself; so there is hardly ever any difference of opinion between the VC and EC over university officials’ appointments. But two members in EC are teachers’ representatives. They can raise questions on the EC’s floor if there has been any violation of the law.”
Nandita Narain, president, DUTA, said, “I don’t think any law has been violated by the new VC. There are chances that he made the university officials’ appointments under Clause 11G (a) of the Delhi University statute that allows the VC to make appointments under emergency powers. But we can’t be sure about this since the members of the EC have not been notified yet. Once the EC is convened, we will know what process was followed in making these appointments. To be honest, the new Director of South Campus who has been recently appointed by the VC is far better than the last one. We had a tough time getting heard by the former director.”
Bhagi added, “This is the first time I am witnessing such a long gap in convening of the EC. It is an important body that is responsible for making major decisions of this university. Whenever the EC is next convened, the agenda for it will be running into thousands of pages and it won’t be humanly possible for all the members of EC to go through them at one go. If you look at the past five years’ record of EC meetings, at times the EC has met 10-12 times a year. That amounts to an average rate of one EC meeting per month. That is how dynamic the process has been. So the new VC should convene the EC meeting at the earliest.”
Explaining the consequences of the delay, Narain said, “The university really can’t function efficiently in the long run without an operational EC. When the VC convenes the EC, all the issues that require approval and discussions are brought on the floor. All the orders and circulars sent by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the University Grants Commission are presented in the EC. Right now, some of the important situations that need to be addressed at the earliest include the pension issue, permanent appointments and promotions of teachers.”
The pension case of Delhi University teachers was ongoing in court for the last one-and-a-half years and the judgement was passed this August, directing the university to grant relief of monthly pension under the General Provident Fund (GPF). Earlier, the teachers used to draw pensions under the cumulative provident fund (CPF). Around 300 teachers are waiting to get their pensions released.
However, Narain also said, “We should not draw quick conclusions yet. Yes, the EC has not been convened, but there are other things that have started to work, even though the pace is slow.” Bhagi said, “The new VC is a soft-spoken receptive person and he should convene the EC soon.”