Social scientist Yogendra Yadav was on Wednesday sacked from the UGC for being a member of Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) with the government stating that his association with the apex body of higher education may give a scope for the body’s “future politicisation”.
Mr. Yadav was issued a show case 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.”
Mr. Yadav as an officer bearer of the AAP and as a member of the UGC, having created a conflict of interest, may not only set a dangerous precedent, “it may even scope for future politicisation of UGC and its academic decision making”, the order said.
Slamming the Centre, Mr. Yadav in his reply on September 10 had wondered whether the Ministry would have acted with similar “zeal” had he joined Congress.
Stating that he was not alone in holding the UGC post while being in a political outfit, Mr. Yadav referred to the Nehurvian days when Acharya Narendra Deva, a renowned scholar of Buddhism and the national president of the Socialist Party, a leading opposition party of the day, was appointed the Vice Chancellor of two universities consecutively.
Dismissing Mr. Yadav’s observations, the order said the example of Mr. Deva is not relevant in the present context as the UGC Act was enacted in 1956, the year in which Mr. Deva died.
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 from time to time,” the order said. —PTI