Social scientist Yogendra Yadav was on Wednesday sacked from the UGC for being a member of the Aam Aadmi Party. The government said his association with the apex body of higher education may give scope for the body’s “future politicisation.”
Mr. Yadav was issued a show-cause notice by the HRD Ministry on September 4 citing conflict of interest as “his antecedents and credentials at the time of his appointment in 2011 and now stand substantially altered.”
In its order, the Ministry said, “The central government in pursuance of powers vested under Rule 6 of UGC (Disqualification, Retirement and Conditions of Service of the Members) Rules 1992 hereby retires Yogendra Yadav from the post of member UGC with immediate effect.” In his reply on September 10, Mr. Yadav wondered whether the Ministry would have acted with similar “zeal” had he joined the Congress. Stating that he was not alone in holding the UGC post while being in a political outfit, he referred to the Nehurvian days when Acharya Narendra Deva, national president of the Socialist Party, was appointed as the Vice Chancellor of two universities consecutively.
Dismissing Mr. Yadav’s observations, the order said the example was not relevant in the present context, as the UGC Act was enacted in 1956, the year in which Deva died. Dismissing Mr. Yadav’s observations, the order said the example of Deva was not relevant in the present context, as the UGC Act was enacted in 1956, the year in which Deva died.
“The UGC has made the post of VC a selection post and has laid down qualifications for that post. The selection of Deva by Nehru had happened long before these developments. Those were extraordinary times requiring exceptional measures and means. Indian democracy has traversed a long distance since then,” it said.
Mr. Yadav’s contention that the Ministry’s action was contrary to the letter, and the spirit of the law, rules and regulations and the Code of Conduct that govern the membership of UGC, has also been contested by the Ministry in its order.
It said that the composition of UGC as per section 5 of UGC Act provides for nomination of members who can only be either teachers or eminent academics, or experts in a given discipline.
“A reading of this section provides the implicit intention of lawmakers on exclusion of politicians. The UGC members till now have been appointed on this basis only which is proved from the fact that never was a UGC member retired by any government even when the ruling party changed at the Centre,” the order said. Earlier Mr. Yadav had said that the ministry wants to get rid of him as he was “posing obstacles in the way of what it was pushing through its agenda in the UGC”. — PTI