interview | K.P. Anbalagan Chennai

‘Governor unilaterally extended tenure of Vice-Chancellors’

Higher Education Minister K.P. Anbalagan has said that Governor-Chancellor Banwarilal Purohit did not consult the government before extending the tenures of the Vice-Chancellors of two State universities recently. In an interview, he has also defended the constitution of an Inquiry Commission to probe allegations against the Vice-Chancellor of Anna University. Edited excerpts:

You are the Pro-Chancellor of State universities. Did the Governor’s office seek your opinion before extending the tenures of the Vice-Chancellors of Bharathidasan University (BDU) and Periyar University?

In the case of BDU, a VC search committee and convenor committee had been constituted. The outgoing VC was even given a farewell. After that, the Governor extended his tenure. The Higher Education Department did not make any request to the Chancellor for an extension. The Governor acted on his own. You have to ask him why he did it.

The Madras High Court recently came down heavily on the government for permitting BDU to adopt a roster system for the appointment of faculty, which goes against the communal reservation rule…

A department-wise roster system would deny opportunities to several communities as the rules of superannuation are different for educational institutions. If we apply the 200-point roster system and consider a university as a single unit instead of treating each department as a unit, then all communities would get opportunities.

In universities, when a faculty member attains superannuation in April, they are relieved in May. However, if their retirement is due in June, then we allow them to continue in their post till the end of the academic year. Also, faculty vacancies would arise only when a faculty member retires or moves to another university, which is rare.

If we follow the department-wise roster system, then if two vacancies arise in a department, one candidate must be appointed under the General Turn and the next one must be from the ST category, as per the rules. The next vacancy in the same department may arise after 10 or 15 years. This means candidates from other categories such as BC, MBC or BCM would not get opportunities. There is no harm in considering the entire university as a single unit, as it would provide more opportunities to candidates from other categories. This way, in a year, 12 vacancies may arise, giving opportunities to all reserved categories.

The court had rapped the Higher Education Secretary as well…

Had BDU asked for a department-wise roster, we would have approved it. I wish the court had merely pointed out that the Secretary should have followed the State’s communal reservation. I have asked the Secretary to seek the Advocate-General’s opinion on filing an appeal against the verdict, as we do not want it to become a precedent.

Why did you appoint an external inquiry commission to probe corruption charges against Anna University Vice-Chancellor M.K. Surappa instead of an internal committee, as was done in the past?

In the past, complaints had been made about former Vice-Chancellors. Now, charges have been levelled against an incumbent Vice-Chancellor.

But former Anna University Vice-Chancellor E. Balagurusamy said the addresses and phone numbers of the complainants against Mr. Surappa were found to be fictitious…

He [Mr. Balagurusamy] has made several allegations of corruption against me as well. There is no basis to any of his charges. I have approached the court [accusing him of defamation] and the case will come up for hearing soon.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 5:10:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/governor-unilaterally-extended-tenure-of-vice-chancellors/article33621576.ece

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