Fresh row between T.N. government and Governor over constitution of V-C search committees for three universities

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy said Mr. Ravi did not have the powers to constitute the committees as per the Acts that govern these universities.

Updated - September 21, 2023 05:58 pm IST

Published - September 07, 2023 12:28 am IST - CHENNAI

Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi

Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi | Photo Credit: R Selvamuthukumar

A fresh row erupted between the State government and Governor R.N. Ravi on Wednesday with the latter issuing separate “notifications” constituting three “search-cum-selection” committees to recommend a panel of three names for the post of Vice-Chancellor for the University of Madras, Bharathiar University (BU) and the Tamil Nadu Teachers Education University (TNTEU).

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy said Mr. Ravi did not have the powers to constitute the committees as per the Acts that govern these universities. No Governor in the past had constituted such committees unilaterally, he said.

The Minister said it was the government that had to notify the constitution of the committees in the Gazette. The notification issued by the Governor was in violation of the Acts and the conventions followed till now.

Importantly, he pointed out that the posts of the V-Cs of BU and TNTEU fell vacant on October 17, 2022, and November 30, 2022 respectively. The search committees for these two universities were formed as per their respective Acts and the same were notified in the Gazette on September 20, 2022, (for BU) and October 19, 2022 (for TNTEU) with the Governor’s approval.

He further said that the State government would legally tackle the Governor’s fresh notifications.

The Minister pointed out that the Bill granting powers to the government to appoint the V-Cs for State universities, similar to the practice followed in States like Telangana and Gujarat, was passed in the Assembly and sent to the Governor on April 28, 2022, for assent. However, the government has not received his assent yet, he said.

The bone of contention between the Governor and the government appeared to be the inclusion of a nominee from University Grants Commission’s (UGC’s) Chairman in the search panels. Raj Bhavan was reportedly keen on including the UGC Chairman’s nominee, thereby making the three-member panel a four-member panel.

The notifications issued by the Governor showed that besides the Acts that governed the respective universities, the UGC Regulations on Minimum Qualification for Appointment of Teachers and Other Academic Staff in Universities and Colleges and Measures for the Maintenance of Standards in Higher Education, 2018, were considered while forming the committees. These regulations mandated the inclusion of UGC Chairman’s nominee as a member.

Governor’s notifications mentioned that these regulations had to be followed as per the Supreme Court direction “in the case reported in 2022 SCC Online SC 1473”.

The notifications also used the term “search-cum-selection” committees, which is used in the UGC regulations, instead of merely stating “search” committees.

For Madras University, Battu Satyanarayana, V-C, Central University of Karnataka, will be the Governor/Chancellor’s nominee and the Convener of the committee. K. Deenabandu, Member, Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission is the Syndicate’s nominee; P. Jagadeesan, former V-C, Bharatidasan University, is the Senate’s nominee; and HCS Rathore, former V-C, Central University of South Bihar, is the UGC Chairman’s nominee.

For BU, P.W.C. Davidar, retired IAS officer, will be the government’s nominee and the Convener of the committee. P. Duraisamy, former V-C, Madras University, is the Syndicate’s nominee; G. Thiruvasagam, V-C, Academy of Maritime Education and Training, is the Senate’s nominee; and B. Thimmegowda, former V-C, Bangalore University, is the UGC Chairman’s nominee.

For TNTEU, Sushma Yadava, Member, UGC, will be the Governor/Chancellor’s nominee and the Convener of the committee. K. Allaudin, retired IAS officer, is the government’s nominee; T. Padmanabhan, former V-C, TNTEU, is the Syndicate’s nominee and H.C.S. Rathore, former V-C, Central University of South Bihar, is the UGC Chairman’s nominee.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.