Selection process not started owing to a legal issue

A university which used to be buzzing with activity is in a silent mode now. Barring the routine administration, there is not much happening or anything to hear from the Madurai Kamaraj University these days. The university has been anxiously waiting for appointment of a Vice-Chancellor since April 20.

Already 220 days had gone by and varsity officials say that the MKU may have to wait for at least a minimum of one month more to get a new Vice-Chancellor because the selection process could not be started owing to a legal issue. “Only next week we are expecting some clarity on this issue.

A couple of Syndicate members are going to Chennai to meet State Government officials and discuss university matters. Even assuming that the process begins next week, it will take at least one month from now to select a VC,” a MKU official told The Hindu on Thursday.

Two reasons

There are two reasons for the delay in appointment: a search panel could not be officially constituted yet with nominees from the Syndicate and Senate; Madurai Kamaraj, Manonmaniam Sundaranar, Mother Teresa and Alagappa University Teachers' Association (MUTA) had gone to court on the issue of holding Senate election for reserved graduates and this issue is linked to the Senate's nominee for search panel.

“It is strange to see MUTA members demanding the State government to appoint a VC soon.

It was they who had gone to the court on Senate election matter and how can a VC be appointed immediately when the matter is pending in court. We have to abide by the court orders,” a university official said.

While legal clearance is awaited for Senate nominee, the university could not take a fast decision on Syndicate choice too as its earlier choice (S. Navaneethakrishnan, a city-based doctor) has resigned from the panel.

The three-member VC search committee will have nominees from the Syndicate and Senate along with Governor's nominee.

After the search panel is constituted, it has to be notified in the gazette and then the selection process begins. Officials say that the university will have to wait for one more month for the entire process to get over.

MUTA blamed

A senior professor familiar with this issue had put the blame on MUTA for delay. “Association members know the MKU Act, 1965, pretty well. Section 42 in the ‘miscellaneous' chapter clearly says that the proceedings of university authorities and bodies will not get invalidated by vacancies etc and that it shall not be invalidated merely by reason of existence of vacancy or election issue. Everyone has to wait for the decision of the court.

The university will proceed only after that,” he said.

A former professor of the university said that the Higher Education Secretary was particular that the State government should not rush into the VC appointment issue till the final outcome of the court case. So, at the moment, the VC chamber in this leading university is vacant for the past 220 days, and still counting.