Chaos and ad-hocism have impacted the smooth functioning of the Delhi University (DU), academicians with the university have alleged. DU Vice Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi is yet to constitute his core team, while governing bodies in 28 Delhi government funded colleges have also not been constituted. The principal’s post in some colleges also remain vacant. Even as a new academic session is about to commence, nearly 4,000 teaching staff posts are also vacant. In fact, even the University Grants Commission (UGC) is yet to get a new Chairman and Vice-Chairman. Despite two meetings of the DU’s Executive Council (EC), no decision has been taken on the governing bodies of the 28 colleges. The colleges where principals have to be appointed include Kirori Mal, Shri Ram College of Commerce, Hansraj, Ramjas, Kamala Nehru and Delhi College of Arts and Commerce. Recently, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government announced that it may stop funding to 12 fully-funded and 16 partially-funded DU colleges if the governing bodies were not formed. AAP is alleging that the Centre is putting pressure on DU to people the governing bodies according to the “whims” of the Bharatiya Janata Party, a charge denied by the latter. The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) has been attempting to communicate to the V-C about the urgency of the situation. In a letter to Yogesh Tyagi in June, DUTA president Nandita Narain wrote, “Since the governing bodies of colleges are the appointing authority for both principals and teachers, it is essential that regular governing bodies for all the colleges are in place to ensure that the appointment process takes place in a smooth, time-bound and fair manner. The silence over the appointment of governing bodies is unprecedented and a blame game between university officials and the Delhi government is going on and this has resulted in a mess in DU.”

A governing body includes the college principal, two teachers’ representatives and two university representatives. Another 10 members are nominated to the body, five by the state and five by DU after verification by the Delhi government. The terms of the last governing bodies ended in October 2016, but the replacements have not been appointed till now.

In a recently held DU-EC meeting, members had deferred taking a decision on the appointment of governing body members of the 28 colleges, citing “improper procedure” being followed in nominations and a five-member committee was formed to look into the names. A.K. Bhagi, an EC member, told The Sunday Guardian: “The committee comprises the dean of colleges, two EC members, a college principal and a court member. Soon, we will select the names for the governing body and forward it to the Delhi government for its sanction. We expect the AAP government not to sit on the files. They have been halting the process of formation of governing bodies for over six months by not following the rules prescribed.”

Abha Dev Habib, former EC member and a DU professor, told The Sunday Guardian, “Successive governments have given a boost to ad hocism and contractualisation of teaching and non-teaching posts in public-funded state and Central universities. Also, permanent teachers are stagnating for the last 10 years as a result of the points-based promotion scheme. Many institutions, including the UGC chair, are headless, resulting in instability.”

“All these bad policies have resulted in insecurity among the academia.Recently, the formation of governing bodies in Delhi government-funded DU colleges has been put on hold. The DU has been turned into a battleground between the Centre and the state government at the cost of stability of institutions,” Habib added.

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