Published On: Mon, Jan 30th, 2012

Academics protest probes against Patna & Magadh University

EduShine Academic Search
Shambhu Nath Singh

Shambhu Nath Singh

Setting up of inquiry committees by the state government against the alleged irregularities in Patna and Magadh universities has stirred up a hornet’s nest in the academic circles. Academics have taken strong exception to the government action in instituting inquiries against the vice-chancellors on its own sweet will and urged the chief minister to intervene in the matter and safeguard the autonomy of the universities.

By instituting inquiries into the affairs of the two universities, the government is not only trying to undermine the autonomy of the universities but also encroaching upon the jurisdiction of the chancellor, they observed.

Describing the state government’s decision as an infringement of the university autonomy, Patna University Retired Teachers’ Association general secretary and Federation of University Service Teachers’ Association former general secretary S K Ganguli said that the education department has transgressed its jurisdiction by ordering an inquiry into the affairs of Patna and Magadh universities. How can the proceedings of the university selection committee, which enjoys the same powers as the Bihar Public Service Commission or the erstwhile Bihar State University (Constituent Colleges) Service Commission, be inquired into by bureaucrats. Moreover, an official of lower rank cannot conduct an inquiry against an official of higher rank, he said.

Federation of University Teachers’ Associations of Bihar working president K B Sinha said that the government has no power to directly order an inquiry against the vice-chancellor or any other official of the university. For any such action, the government will have to write to the chancellor who can order an inquiry into the matter. The chancellor will send a copy of the inquiry committee report to the state government, he said.

Sinha cited the recent inquiry against Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University VC K N Dubey in which the inquiry was ordered by the chancellor and subsequently, a report of the inquiry committee was sent to the state government before taking action against the VC. This procedure should have been followed in other cases too, he said.

He said the university Acts provide that the governor of Bihar shall be the chancellor and shall, by virtue of his office, be the head of the university and president of the senate. The chancellor shall have the powers to inspect a university, its buildings, laboratories, workshops and equipments, any college or hostel, the teaching or examinations conducted, or any act of the university, and to get such inspection done by such person or persons who may be directed by him. Hence, except in financial matters, the state government is not empowered to interfere in the working of the universities, Sinha added.

Meanwhile, a section of senior teachers of Patna University, at a meeting held here on Saturday under the presidentship of Khagendra Kumar, condemned the institution of an inquiry against Patna Univeristy VC  Dr Shambhu Nath Singhand decided to launch a campaign against the state government which, they alleged, was striving hard to erode the university autonomy.

Deans of as many as five faculties of Patna University (PU), including Bharti S Kumar of social sciences, Rakesh Verma of law, Ashutosh Kumar of education, S M Ashok of humanities and Umesh Mishra of commerce, said that the inquiry set up by the education department against PU vice-chancellor on the basis of complaint made by some self-styled student leaders is in utter violation of the PU Act and statutes. Identity and antecedence of these “students” should have been ascertained before initiating any probe. “In the last few years, these students have been disturbing the peace of the university on one pretext or the other. They had the audacity to abuse and insult the VC in his office chamber,” they said.

They further observed that setting up of an inquiry committee by the government against the VC with officers much below in rank and protocol is not only funny but also shows the clout of these student leaders in the higher hierarchy of the government. It is noteworthy that, for the first time in the history of PU, an inquiry has been set up by the government against the VC on the basis of a complaint made by such elements against whom the university has initiated disciplinary action for their misconduct, they added.

Bihar Public Service Commission’s former member and PU English teacher Shiv Jatan Thakur has expressed his grave concern over the erosion of the rule of law in the education department by constituting an inquiry committee against the PU VC in blatant violation of the statutory law.

Referring to the Section 10 (2) of the university Act, Thakur asserted that in respect to the administrative lapses of the university officials, the power to constitute inquiry committee is conferred exclusively on the chancellor, no one else. It is absolutely unlawful for the education department to order inquiry against the lapses of the PU VC. The constitution of inquiry committee on the receipt of frivolous complaint by one who is punished for indiscipline by the vice-chancellor makes a mockery of the doctrine of jurisprudence by the department presided over by the former advocate general of Bihar, who is the current education minister.

(source: Times Of India)