Many VCs are not happy with the appointments

The recent direction of the State Government to Bangalore University to initiate action against its former Registrar (Evaluation) K. Puttaraju for dishonouring the Government order appointing M.S. Talwar as his successor has brought under the scanner the issue of appointment of Registrars to various Universities.

Though the former Registrar (Administration) Subramanya too had refused to hand over charge to his successor M.G. Krishnan in deference to an oral directive from Vice-Chancellor Prabhu Dev, the Department of Higher Education has cited Dr. Puttaraju's public statements against the Government on the matter as the reason for initiating disciplinary action.

The Vice-Chancellors of various Universities had virtually locked horns with the Department of Higher Education during the recent round of appointment of Registrars to different Universities. A delegation of Vice-Chancellors representing at least 10 Universities met the Governor H.R. Bhardwaj at Raj Bhavan to express their concern.

They did not hide their discomfiture over the candidates chosen for the posts of Registrars in their respective Universities. The Higher Education Department officials reasoned that it was the prerogative of the office of the Pro-Chancellor or the Higher Education Minister to appoint a Registrar.

But, Vice-Chancellors are of the firm view that Registrars should be chosen from the panel of names they suggest to ensure “harmony” in administration.

Meanwhile, according to officials in the Higher Education Department, the Government had been appointing IFS and KAS officers as Registrars (Administration) and Registrars (Evaluation) till the Inter-Universities Board (IUB) earlier this year decided to choose from among only academicians for the posts.

Endorsed

Minister for Higher Education Aravind Limbavali said the Government's recent appointment of Registrars was based on not only the IUB's resolution, but also a decision taken at a meeting of Vice-Chancellors convened by former Governor Rameshwar Thakur. “All the Vice-Chancellors had endorsed the decision to appoint academicians as Registrars,” he claimed.

Though the Vice-Chancellors are not opposed to appointment of academicians as Registrars, they are keen on the Government choosing candidates for the key post from among the panel of three names they suggest.

After the row over appointment of Registrars broke out, Governor H.R. Bhardwaj, who is also the Chancellor of all Universities, wrote to Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa making out a case for adhering to the provisions of Karnataka State Universities (KSU) Act 2000 “in letter and spirit” while appointing Registrars in the best academic interests of the Universities.

According to Section 17 (1) of the KSU Act, the State Government may appoint an officer belonging to the All India Services working in super-time scale to be the Registrar of a University. Similarly, Section 18 (1) of the Act states that the State Government may appoint an officer of the KAS, not below the rank of a Group A senior scale or a senior faculty member of any University, to be Registrar (Evaluation).

Though the Act provides for appointment of faculty members of the University as Registrar (Evaluation), questions have been raised over the appointment of faculty members even for the post of Registrar (Administration).

Has the IUB decision to appoint academicians as Registrars (Administration) violated the KSU Act, wondered a member of the Bangalore University Syndicate. “For, the Act suggests that IAS, IPS or IFS officials should be appointed to the post”, he said.

Not mandatory

But, officials of the Department of Higher Education preferred to interpret the provisions of the Act in a different manner. “The Act merely states that an All India Service officer may be appointed. It does not expressly state that is mandatory,” said a senior official of the Department.

With an amendment to the KSU Act in the offing, the academicians only hope that the matter is resolved. The eight-member committee headed by former Vice-Chancellor of Bangalore University N.R. Shetty constituted by the State Government to make recommendations for amending the KSU Act 2000 is seized of the matter. “We will take into consideration all the aspects of appointment of Registrars in our report,” said Prof. Shetty.