On Thursday, March 6th, Delhi University’s Executive Council accepted the proposal to amend the Statute 11-F (4) of the Statutes of the University, where it has been proposed that now the Vice-Chancellor would be eligible to seek a second term. Earlier the statute mentioned that the Vice-Chancellor’s term can only be extended for a year at maximum at the recommendation of the Visitor i.e. the President of India.
In 2009, the HRD Ministry wrote to all central universities to create a provision of seeking second terms for VCs when VCs of only 7 Central Universities could serve for a second term. The heads of the remaining CUs including DU and JNU were eligible for a single term only. This matter came up for discussion by the Executive Council of Delhi University this week.
Former DUTA president and chairperson of AAD, Aditya Narayan Mishra said,” I am not opposed to any individual but on a matter of principles I believe that a five year term is a good enough to provide academic leadership to any institution. The VC as of now will only get to avail the right to stand for second term but all the procedure for electing the VC would take place according to the set guidelines.”
The decision has received tough opposition and resentment by many teachers calling the day as ‘black day in the history of Delhi University’.’The V.C presiding over the meeting with an agenda that is going to be beneficial to him is very improper. It is not a good idea to perpetuate one person and not good for the University. It is against the wisdom of the parliament and the Delhi University Act and only for one person’s benefit”, said Nandita Narain, President of Delhi University’s Teacher’s Association (DUTA).
With the latest amendments, the VC now has the authority to make a search committee for the next person to hold office, which would constitute three members. It would allow the Vice Chancellor to nominate two out of the three members. The visitor, who is the President of India, will recommend the remaining name.
“The E.C members are a bunch of yes-men to the VC who could be manipulated by threats and scares of being targeting in hundreds of ways. This is constitutionally undemocratic when principals and Executive Council members are targeted”, said Narain.
“There is a huge conflict of interest within the statute itself as only one clause of re-appointment is amended without amending the clause for setting up the search committee where the outcome can be easily influenced by the VC. A nexus can set in and the VC is sending out a signal, ‘I may continue so you better behave yourself’. I want to say that movement can’t be curbed and it will continue in all possible ways which we can think of in spite of the demoralising signals the VC is sending out”, said Abha Dev Habib, an E.C member and an Assistant Professor at Miranda House, Delhi University.
The professional code of ethics for teachers as approved by the Executive Council is an exhaustive set of guidelines created by UGC in 2010 that describes the ideal code of conduct for higher education teachers.
The Code of Professional Ethics makes “violations” punishable that has emerged as a cause of alarm where it mentions that “If the circumstances so warrant, the Vice Chancellor may direct the governing body of the college to initiate action against a teacher on the grounds of misconduct, failing which the Vice Chancellor may take such action as provided for in the Act, statutes and ordinances of the university.”
“He has enlarged the scope of what is called‘misconduct’. He has given himself the power to take direct action against any teacher even if governing body doesn’t agree. He wants to crush any kind of dissent on the syllabi and conduct of teachers. He is ‘all in all’ which is very draconian and like being back to the period of Hitler in 1939”, said Nandita Narain on the amendments to the ordinances.
Image Credit: Parandeep Goswami