EC Member Abha Dev Habib writes again to the Visitor

Hon’ble Shri Pranab Mukherjee,
President of India,
Visitor, University of Delhi

16 May 2013

Subject: Grave violations of the DU Act in the EC meeting of 9-5-2013

Dear Sir,

I write to you to report the proceedings of the Special Meeting of the Executive Council which was held on 9 May 2013 at 2 pm. I had written to you earlier (letter dated 9 May 2013) regarding violation of statutory provisions in convening this meeting. The EC meeting considered the recommendations of the Academic Council on the Courses of Study, Syllabi and associated matters of DU Ordinance Amendments relating to student evaluation, examinations etc. with respect to the Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP) with multiple exit points.

A motion, presented in line with DU Regulations on the EC, for a rescheduling of the EC meeting to allow time for EC members to peruse the detailed agenda material and enable proper application of mind was disallowed by the Vice Chancellor.

No member was presented with detailed agenda material in person on the recommendations of the DU AC on the courses of study and syllabi that constitute component parts of the FYUP. Memebers of the EC were told by the Vice Chancellor to look at a gargantuan bundle of papers that reportedly contained the aforesaid agenda material. No EC member could look at, leave alone peruse, all the papers concerned.

It is disturbing that the Executive Council amended ordinances without any application of mind. The Executive Council passed various draft ordinances pertaining to admission, examinations and 44 courses in a matter of three and half hours. It is unfortunate that a major overhauling is taking place without allowing the Executive Council to scrutinize the agenda papers.

The Chancellor’s nominee, Javid Chowdhury, who had also written to the VC as early as 3 May 2013 objecting to the Notice of the EC meeting (dated 2 May 2013), also expressed his reservation of holding meeting in this manner, i.e. without giving opportunity to members to study the material.

We also note with dismay the role of the Legal Advisor Ms Kamala Shankaran, who was present as a Special Invitee. She attempted a perverse reading of the Act, statutes and Ordinances to argue on behalf of the VC that the Executive Council, for considering recommendations of the AC, need not go into the details of the proposals passed by the Academic Council. The unhappy situation was compounded by the fact that whenever issues were raised on the recommendations, I was repeatedly told that the Academic Council has already discussed the matter for hours.

Dissents (by two members, me and Shri Ajay Kumar) were placed on the following counts:
(i) On manner in which meeting was convened without giving the minimum stipulated time of seven days for studying and scrutinizing the agenda papers.
(ii) On passing of 43 courses without even providing personal copies of courses of studies and syllabi.
(iii) On passing of provisions for a flawed structure which will have ramifications for quality and equity.

The proceedings of the meeting expose the malfunction of the statutory bodies. It is important to investigate as to why other members agreed to pass the agenda without even looking at it. They did not express concern over the manner in which the meeting was convened or to the fact that courses of studies, which were approved, were never circulated to members even during the course of the meeting.

The violation of the DU Act renders all decisions taken with in the DU EC meeting of 9-5-2013 infructuous in law. Further, it undermines public interest, which a public institution such as DU is meant to uphold and further. Delhi University enrolls over 60,000 students and implementation of a flawed system will be highly irresponsible.

I request you to exercise your powers under DU Act 7-A to urge that the decisions taken by the EC be quashed, the DU EC may be directed to act in consonance with the DU Act and to set-up a fact-finding enquiry into the conduct of the Vice Chancellor, who instead of upholding the Act, statues and ordinances, has created an environment where the Statutory Bodies have abdicated their responsibility. We urge you to intervene to stop destruction of a premier institution of learning which has served the Nation for decades.

Yours Sincerely,

Dr. Abha Dev Habib.
Member, Executive Council

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