EC Member Abha Dev Habib writes to Visitor

On extension of term of office of University officials from 65 to 70.

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

24 September 2013

Subject: Violations in the amendments to the Statute and consequential amendments to the Ordinances adopted in the Executive Council meeting of 17 August-2013 pertaining to the terms of office of Pro-Vice Chancellor, Dean of Colleges, Director, South Campus and Director, Campus of Open Learning.

Dear Sir,

The University of Delhi, in its Executive Council meeting held on 17 August 2013, has amended Statute 11 of the Statutes of the University and has made consequential amendments to Ordinance XXII and Ordinance XXIIA of the Ordinances of the University.

The amendments in the said Statute and Ordinances have been made to amend the terms of office of the Vice-Chancellor, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, the Dean of Colleges, the Director, South Campus and the Director, Campus of Open Learning so as to “permit them to continue until the end of the term of their appointment or the age of seventy whichever is earlier”.

In this regard, I would request your kind consideration of the following facts.

1. This Agenda Item was tabled during the meeting and thus no time was given to the members for application of mind. Though the Agenda Item refers to the Central Universities Act, 2009, the relevant annexure was not provided to the members. Members including Shri Javid Chowdhry, the Chancellor’s Nominee, protested against placing of such an important policy matter directly in the meeting. It was also pointed out that this matter could not be treated as “emergent”. The Vice Chancellor, as Chairperson of the Executive Council, over-ruled our objections and initiated discussion on the Agenda Item. Three members dissented on the matter on the arguments of procedure and special provisions being created for Officials whom the Vice Chancellor selects and proposes to the Executive Council for approval. (The Agenda Item No. 15-6/ is appended as Annexure I and my note of dissent is appended as Annexure II)

2. The above mentioned Agenda Item No. 15-6/ of the said meeting of the Executive Council sought the approval for the extension of the terms of certain Officers of the University claiming that the Statutes of the University of Delhi ought to be in conformity with the Central Universities Act, 2009, which came into effect on 15th January, 2009. The said Agenda item begins with a note, the first two paragraphs of which read as follows:

“Note: The Central Universities Act, 2009 which came into effect on 15th January, 2009 has provided in its Statutes that the Vice Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor shall hold office for a term of five years or until he attains the age of seventy, whichever is earlier.

Under the University Statues at present, the terms of office of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Dean of Colleges, Director, South Campus and the Director, Campus of Open Learning are coterminous with the term of office of the Vice Chancellor. It is therefore proposed that the Statutes be amended to permit them to continue until the end of the term of their appointment or the age of seventy whichever is earlier.” (italics mine) [Refer Annexure I]

3. However, the Central Universities Act, 2009, published in the Gazette of India on 20th March, 2009, was specifically enacted “to establish and incorporate Universities for teaching and research in the various States and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.” (Page 2, Part II, Section I, Gazette of India, 20th March, 2009 is appended as Annexure III). Apart from this general definition of the scope of the said Act, the said Act also specifies the Universities which come under its scope. These are Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya, Chattisgarh; Dr. Harisingh Gaur Vishwavidyalaya, Madhya Pradesh; Hemavati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University, Uttarakhand; Central University of Bihar; Central University of Gujarat; Central University of Hariyana; Central University of Himachal Pradesh; Central University of Jammu and Kashmir; Central University of Jharkhand; Central University of Karnataka; Central University of Kerala; Central University of Orissa; Central University of Punjab; Central University of Rajasthan; and Central University of Tamil Nadu.

4. This Agenda Item of the said Executive Council meeting, while referring to the said Act, however, suppresses the said scope of the Act and refers to the said Act as “The Central Universities Act” as if the Act covers all Central Universities, and hence, the University of Delhi.

5. As such, the said Act does not cover the University of Delhi or any other Central University not mentioned in the Act. This fact confirms the widespread perception that the practice of placing agenda items, which are not ordained by requirements that could not be anticipated and would need to be addressed on an emergent basis, has become a means of misleading the Authorities of the University (such as the Academic Council, the Executive Council and the Court). Such items are placed on the table during the meetings of the Authorities so that due application of mind and scrutiny of proposals cannot be carried out.

6. This act of suppression of facts by the concerned Officer of the University of Delhi, i.e., the Registrar, University of Delhi, is an express act of fraud intended to mislead the Executive Council.

7. The valid reference for Central Universities on the matter of the Age of Superannuation and the terms of Office is the UGC regulations 2010 on minimum qualifications for appointment of teachers and other academic staff and measures for maintenance of Standards in Higher Education, as notified in the Gazette of India, on 18th September, 2010, with later notified amendments and subject to adoption by the concerned authority of the respective University.

8. The said UGC Regulation endorses the Department of Higher Education, Government of India, D. O. letter F.1-24/2006-Desk (U), dated 30.03.2007, which had authorized Central Universities to “enhance the age of superannuation of the Vice Chancellors of Central Universities from 65 to 70 years.” (Page 7934, Part III- Section 4, Gazette of India, 18th September, 2010 is appended as Annexure – IV)

9. The said Regulation, thus, provides for an enhancement of the age of superannuation of Vice Chancellor only.

10. The University of Delhi officers, i.e., the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Dean of Colleges, Director, South Campus and the Director, Campus of Open Learning, who would benefit from such a decision, were also present in the said meeting of the Executive Council.

11. All of these Officers were also members of the Committee formed to propose amendments based on the UGC Regulation 2010 referred above and its subsequent amendments, which preempts the possibility of their being unaware of the said provision regarding the age of superannuation. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor was the Chairperson of this Committee and, among others, the Registrar, Director, South Campus and Director, Campus of Open Learning in his capacity as Dean, Faculty of Science were part of this Committee. (Composition of the Committee constituted by the Vice-Chancellor appended as Annexure – V)

12. The concerned officers were aware of the limited scope of the Central Universities Act, 2009. The same EC meeting considered and approved proposals, recommended by the above mentioned committee of which the concerned officers were members, to seek amendments to Clauses 2(g), 4(6) and 4(7) of the Delhi University Act in order to substitute Lecturer and Reader by Assistant Professor and Associate Professor respectively as categories of teachers. (The Recommendations of the Committee chaired by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor w.r.t Clauses 2(g), 4(6) and 4(7) vide Annexure-I to the agenda of the Executive Council meeting held on 17 August 2013 are appended as Annexure – VI) These proposals were circulated with the knowledge that the Central Universities Act, 2009 does not override the provisions of the Delhi University Act, 1922. The Central Universities Act, 2009 already includes Assistant Professor and Associate Professor in the categories of teachers. (Relevant page of the CU Act, 2009 is appended as Annexure – VII)  Had these officers believed that the provisions of the Central Universities Act, 2009 amended the Delhi University Act, 1922, then the above substitutions would not have been necessary and hence, would not have been proposed.

13. It thus appears that the suppression of information regarding the scope of the Central Universities Act, 2009 was a deliberate attempt to mislead the Executive Council in adopting a provision to extend the benefit of the enhancement of the age of superannuation to specific officers of the University of Delhi, i.e., the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Dean of Colleges, Director, South Campus and the Director, Campus of Open Learning for which there is no provision in the UGC Regulations 2010 or the Department of Higher Education letter mentioned above and included as Annexures.

14. The act of deliberate suppression of facts by the concerned officers of the University, and leading to decisions which extend benefit to some of those officers, constitute punishable offenses under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including, but not limited to Sections 23, 24, 25, 28, and 33.

Under these circumstances, I urge you to intervene under Section 7-A, Clause 3 of Section 29, and Clauses 5 and 6 of Section 31 of the Delhi University Act.

I would request you to kindly:

i. declare the amendments to Statute 11 of the Statutes of the University and consequential amendments to Ordinance XXII and Ordinance XXIIA of the University as amended by the Executive Council in its meeting held on 17th August, 2013, vide Agenda Item 15-6/ as null and void;

ii. order legal action against the Officers of the University of Delhi for conspiring to mislead the Executive Council to adopt amendments which would directly extend benefits to them to which they are not entitled under the concerned Acts and Regulations;

iii. suspend and order legal action against the Registrar, University of Delhi, for suppression of relevant facts, which were available officially to the Office of the Registrar, thus misleading the Executive Council.

iv. issue a clear directive against placing fresh agenda items on the table and not providing the same to members at least seven days before the scheduled meetings of the Authorities of the University and other statutory bodies as provided in the Regulations of the University.

With regards,

Abha Dev Habib

Enclosed:

  • Annexure I: Agenda Item No. 15-6/ of the
  • Annexure II: Note of Dissent submitted by me
  • Annexure III: Page 2, Part II, Section I, Gazette of India, 20th March, 2009 referring to Central Universities Act, 2009
  • Annexure IV:  Page 7934, Part III- Section 4, Gazette of India, 18th September, 2010 referring to age of superannuation of Vice-Chancellors of Central Universities
  • Annexure V: Composition of the Committee constituted by the Vice-Chancellor to propose amendments to Ordinances.
  • Annexure VI: The Recommendations of the Committee chaired by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor w.r.t Clauses 2(g), 4(6) and 4(7) vide Annexure-I to the agenda of the Executive Council meeting.
  • Annexure VII: Relevant page of the CU Act, 2009 relating to categories of teachers
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