Gauhati University: No New VC in Sight even after 6 Months
Even after six months since the term of the vice-chancellor (VC) of Gauhati University (GU) ended, there is no new VC in sight for the post as the matter remains stalled at the Gauhati High Court.
In the meantime, the previous vice-chancellor Dr Mridul Hazarika continues to hold the post of the vice-chancellor, in an unprecedented turn of events.
The process of appointment of the new vice-chancellor (VC) of Gauhati University (GU) has been stalled for the past six months since the Gauhati High Court had put in place a stay order on the selection process.
As per a source in the university, “The new appointment hasn’t taken place since the case is pending in the court since there were issues regarding the search committee and the judgement is yet to be delivered.”
According to sources, it has been the norm to appoint the new VC before the term of the incumbent VC ends.
“This norm was being followed for the past many years. The fundamental issue this time was that a new VC was not appointed before the end of the tenure of the incumbent VC,” said a highly placed source in GU on the condition of anonymity.
As part of the process for selection of a VC of a state university, there is a three-member search-cum-selection committee (SCSC) the members of which are nominated by the university, state government and the Governor (who is also the chancellor of the university) respectively.
However, according to University Grants Commission (UGC) norms, the members of the committee cannot be associated with the university in any way. But in the case of GU, a member of the SCSC appointed by the executive council of the university has also been a member of the university selection committee which oversees appointment of teachers, informed authorities.
The Gauhati University Teachers’ Association has also raised this issue with the chancellor but no action was taken.
Therefore, a petition was then filed in the High Court regarding the sanctity of the search committee, resulting in a stay order being issued by the court. The order was issued on the day the interview was scheduled, deferring the selection process.
Talking about the future prospects, the source added that if the High Court finds the search committee to be satisfactory, then the process will be expedited because the search committee has already called for personal interactions of candidates and they might have prepared a panel of shortlisted probable candidates which will be sent to the Governor for appointment.
“However, on the other hand, if the search committee is not found to be in conformity with the UGC rules and is declared null and void by the High Court, then the whole process will have to begin again and it will take a lot of time,” a faculty member at GU informed G Plus.
He added that if the search committee is declared null and void, a point of contention will be whether the incumbent will be allowed to continue as the vice chancellor or another person will be temporarily appointed till a new vice chancellor is appointed and joins.
Explaining the process of selection of a new vice-chancellor, he said that the search committee prepares a list of three candidates which is then put forward to the chancellor for higher consideration. Further, the chancellor can appoint any person out of the three recommendations.