“Pro Vice Chancellor of the University Prof Naresh Chandra has been asked to act as the officiating vice-chancellor of the University until further orders,” a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said here today.
The Governor, who is the Chancellor of Universities in the state, has taken the decision in the backdrop of orders passed by the Bombay High Court from time to time while hearing the petitions challenging Welukar’s essential eligibility qualification and considering the fact that the court has directed a Search Committee to reconsider the question of the eligibility of Welukar for the post of Vice Chancellor, the spokesperson said.
The requirement for having minimum five research publications after PhD in international peer reviewed journals which should be reference for studies in higher education is one of the criteria for being shortlisted for the post of VC. This was the subject matter of the PILs challenging Welukar’s appointment.
Yuva Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray welcomed the decision to remove Welukar.
“So finally the Governor asks MU VC to step aside. This is a big relief to students. Nothing personal, but we’ve countered him for bad administration,” he tweeted.
“Yuva Sena has constantly tackled the outgoing VC’s bad admin and corruption, giving justice to students and staff against gross misrule,” he said.
“I remember those times when the then Governor Sankarnaryanan ji had to personally intervened on my request to set things right, two years ago,” he said.
‘A VC without duties makes no sense’
Yogita Rao,TNN | Feb 19, 2015, 11.56 PM IST
While university officials were left shocked, many associated with the varsity believed the decision was long-pending.
An official said higher authorities may have wanted him to stay away from the academic and management council’s joint meeting scheduled for the end of the month. It will be held to nominate an academician in the search committee to appoint a new vice-chancellor. “The joint meeting is to be held to nominate an academician on the committee to appoint the new VC. Usually the practice is to authorize the VC to announce the name after the council decision.”
Welukar was asked to abstain from attending office and discharging his duties after the high court questioned his eligibility. TOI was the first to report about doubts over his qualifications.
More theories floated after the governor’s decision was communicated to the university. A professor said the decision must be political due to the change in government. “When the high court questioned his appointment process, and concluded that ‘there was non-application of mind’ by the search committee, he should have gracefully resigned.”
An office bearer from the Bombay University and College Teachers’ Union said they are disappointed with the governor’s decision. “There is a clause in the Universities Act that under Section 12, sub-section 7E, the chancellor, in an emergency, may appoint any suitable person as VC for six months. This was an emergency. He should have been asked to step down and a new person should have been appointed. Asking him to abstain from his duties even as he continues as VC does not make sense. Appointing the pro-vice-chancellor as the acting VC is also not a solution,” said a BUCTU representative.
A D Sawant, former pro-vice-chancellor and one of the petitioners in the court case against Welukar, said, “For four and a half years, neither the search committee nor the lawyers defending his case submitted an affidavit justifying his qualifications. He should have resigned in 2011, but he must have used the political machinery to retain his post.” He alleged that Welukar used university’s funds to fight his case. RTI activist Anil Galgali said money spent from the university fund should be recovered from him.
“It is the most ideal decision that the governor has taken to salvage the university’s reputation. His appointment was political and it was affecting the university’s administration,” said professor Neeraj Hatekar who was suspended for questioning the university’s policies.
A section of university officials, though, say the decision is a little harsh on Welukar. “He would not have anticipated this or else he would have resigned. He still has four to five years before he retires,” said a professor.
University registrar M A Khan said the court has directed the search committee to reconsider the eligibility norms of Welukar. “The impression of the search committee regarding the eligibility should be decided within four weeks. The chancellor in his wisdom may have taken the step for transparent and fair assessment of eligibility,” said Khan.
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