Amid widespread protests from the administration side, T. Senthivel, senior most Dean and Professor of Agriculture, assumed office as Vice-Chancellor (in-charge) of Gandhigram Rural Institute (GRI) here on Friday.
He circulated a letter to all departments, the Chancellor and Ministry of Human Resource Department in this connection.
He said section IV of Clause 25 of the Memorandum of Association (MoA) of the GRI clearly stated that in case of the office of the Vice-Chancellor falling vacant due to resignation of the incumbent or due to his or her absence because of illness or any other cause, the senior most dean should perform the duties of the Vice-Chancellor.
If there was no dean, the senior most professor should perform those duties, and this arrangement would continue till a new Vice-Chancellor was appointed or the incumbent Vice-Chancellor resumed duties, he noted.
“As per the MoA, I am eligible to assume office. I had served as a member of the Board of Management and also Interim Committee of the GRI.
However, Registrar N. Narayanasamy, who described his action as illegal, said the GRI could not accept it because the Madras High Court Bench in Madurai had ordered an interim stay on the appointment of Vice-Chancellor in-charge of the GRI, and the court nowhere mentioned that Mr. Senthivel should be appointed as V-C in-charge.
The Gandhigram Rural Institute would file a counter affidavit to the interim stay shortly.
If the court directed the institute to appoint him, we would appoint him, he also pointed out.
The GRI administration referred the issue to the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Chancellor. It had also convened a meeting of all Deans and Heads of Departments, he added.
Registrar N. Narayanasamy, in a press release on September 6, had stated that Faculty of English and Foreign Languages Dean A. Joseph Dorairaj would perform the duties of the Vice-Chancellor, as Vice-Chancellor S.M. Ramasamy demitted his office as per the orders of the Government of India.
When Mr. Senthivel challenged the order in the Madras High Court Bench in Madurai, the court ordered an interim stay.
Administrative sources said the GRI could not recommend Mr. Senthivel for this post owing to administrative reasons.
It may be recalled that former Vice-Chancellor T. Karunakaran too had faced vociferous protests from the staff and the faculty during last days of his tenure.