Meeting President of India on the Semester System in DU, 3.6.2010

Sitaram Yechury accompanies teachers to the Visitor against arbitrary imposition of structural changes by DU VC

Com. Sitaram Yechury, M.P. and P.B. member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) accompanied a delegation comprising of Mr. Aditya Narayan Mishra (DUTA President), Dr. Vinay Kumar Singh (DUTA Secretary), Dr. Vijender Sharma (Former DUTA President), Dr. Abha Dev Habib (Member, Academic Council) and Mr. Sanjaya Kumar Bohidar (Former DUTA Treasurer) met Hon’ble Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, President of India on 3 June 2010.

Com. Sitaram Yechury apprised Smt. Patil, who is also the Visitor of the University of Delhi, of the grave crisis faced by a premier educational institution of the country, the University of Delhi that has immensely contributed in the sphere of education and in nation-building. He reminded Smt. Patil that he had represented in writing in this regard a few days ago. Com. Yechury pointed out that the arbitrary actions by the Vice Chancellor over the last year and a half, in pushing major structural change without proper discussion, has been in gross violation of the authority and powers vested in various bodies consequent upon the provisions of the Act of the Parliament establishing the University. He sought the urgent intervention of the Visitor so that the quality and content of education in a premier university is not allowed to suffer.

Mr. Aditya Narayan Mishra submitted that the direction by the Vice Chancellor vide letters by the Registrar to colleges dated 25.5.2010 and 26.5.2010 to implement semester based courses in 13 undergraduate science programmes violates various provisions of the Act, specifically of sections 7(4), 7A(2), 7A(7), 30, 31(1), 31(2), 31(4), 31(5) and 31(6) as well as Statutes 11-G(2), 11-G(5) and 30(c)(v). He pointed out that the Vice Chancellor has not only disallowed due discussion and deliberation but flouted the Act and Statutes which require that introduction of courses be made by bringing in Ordinances. By not proposing a draft for such Ordinances in the Academic Council and not making the Ordinances in the Executive Council he has undermined the authority of these bodies. By ordering implementation, he has taken the Visitor for granted since the Visitor has the right to suspend any such Ordinance within one month and annul it altogether. The Vice Chancellor cannot assume the power of Ordinance making which has been clearly laid down in the Act. Mr. Mishra sought the intervention of the Visitor on such abuse of emergency power since it threatens the functioning of the University and jeopardizes its academic future. He also sought institution of a Visitorial enquiry into the Violations and withholding implementation of these courses.

Mr. Sanjaya Kumar Bohidar submitted that through these violations the Vice Chancellor has effectively denied teachers the right to discuss and deliberate courses and is imposing courses of questionable standard on the students in academically unacceptable haste. The students who are going to be admitted in a few weeks time to these courses are going to suffer unless his decision was stayed. He argued that instead of allowing academic standards to suffer, the issue should be re-opened for discussion and deliberation through the due processes.

Dr. Abha Dev Habib submitted that the democratic process of decision making has been flouted and is threatened by the arbitrary actions by the Vice Chancellor. Allowing the democratic processes stipulated in the Act, Statutes and Ordinances to be undermined would adversely affect the functioning of the University and also its academic quality. She argued that the directives of the VC must be stayed and due democratic processes should be initiated.

Dr. Vijender Sharma submitted that the present case of use of emergency powers in relation to 13 courses is at variance with the OFFICE MEMORANDUM issued by the MHRD on 11 June 2001 with the approval of the Visitor. This memorandum forbids the (ab)use of emergency power both in routine matters and in policy matters. It decries the practice of marginalizing statutory bodies and reducing frequencies of their meetings. It only allows use of emergency power in emergency situations where the appropriate body cannot meet and deferring the decision is likely to create serious administrative inconvenience. The Vice Chancellor has completely flouted this memorandum issued with the approval of the Visitor, thus requiring actions so taken to be annulled.

Smt. Patil assured the delegation that she would look into the issues and take appropriate action.

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