EC Member Abha Dev Habib writes to Visitor

On term posts and selection committees for Principals

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

24 September 2013

Subject: Violation by Delhi University of the UGC Regulations on term-posts and selection committees for Principals in advertisement for the post of the Principal of ARSD College

Dear Sir,

The UGC Regulations, 2010 vide sub-clause (a) to clause 5.1.6 stipulates the composition of selection committee for recruitment of College Principals whereas sub-clause (d) to the same stipulates that the term of appointment of the college Principal be for five years. (Appended as Annexure I) The limiting the term of appointment of Principals to five years has been a long standing demand of the teachers, which has finally been accepted by the UGC and stipulated in the UGC Regulations, 2010. It is a matter of grave concern to the teachers of Delhi University that the University has not brought the necessary amendments in the term of appointment of Principals or the composition of the Selection Committee and is instead using the High Court Order dated 23 July 2013 (LPA 814/2012 Order appended as Annexure – II) to hurriedly notify the advertisement for the post of Principal, ARSD College, under the existing ordinances.

I wish to bring to your notice the following with respect to the above:

1. The post of Principal, Atma Ram Sanatan Dharma College was advertised in The Hindu, Noida/Delhi on Thursday, 15 August 2013. (Appended as Annexure – III) This advertisement requires qualifications as mandated by ordinances prior to the UGC Regulations of 2010 and does not stipulate that the term of appointment shall be five years. A related issue to this non-compliance to UGC regulations is the composition of the Selection Committee for appointing the Principal.

2. That the meetings of the Academic Council and the Executive Council had already been notified for 16 August 2013 and 17 August 2013 respectively prior to the above-mentioned advertisement. The agenda items included amendments to the various Statutes and Ordinances in light of the UGC Regulations, 2010. It is clear that the aforesaid advertisement is a deliberate attempt to flout the UGC Regulations, 2010 since in these meetings no proposal to amend the Ordinances related to term of Principals or the composition of the selection committee was placed.

3. It was pointed out by me during the meeting of the Executive Council held on 17 August 2013 that appointment of any Principal in violation of the above-mentioned clauses of the UGC regulations is illegal and disregards the standing directive of the Visitor in this regard. (Appended as Annexure – IV)

4. In response, Professor Umesh Rai, Director, South Campus, stated that this advertisement was to satisfy the order dated 23 July 2013 by the High Court of Delhi in LPA 814/2012 Order. I have since read the said order. It states as follows:

“List these appeals for final disposal on 29.10.2013.
In the meanwhile the Governing Body of ARSD College shall set the selection process for the Principal of the college in motion. As an interim measure the selection process provided under Ordinance XVIII clause 7 of the ordinances under the Delhi University Act, 1922 shall be followed. We are conscious of the fact that there is dispute as to whether the regulation provided by the University Grants Commission or these ordinances would be applicable. However, since there is no Principal of the college, and this dispute may take some time to resolve we have given the above direction. We also make it clear that the above direction does not mean that the issue is closed in any manner. The selection and the appointment of the Principal would be subject to the final order that may be passed in these appeals. “

5. The High Court order could not have set aside the order of the Supreme Court of India in September 1994 that the UGC Regulations were mandatory. In fact, the High Court order does not insist that the post be filled up in accordance with the unamended Ordinances. When the Executive Council was to meet to amend Ordinances in the light of the UGC regulations, there was no justifiable basis for advertising the post on 15 August 2013 and not a few days later after 17 August 2013 when the Executive Council was to meet. In any case, there is absolutely no justification even as per the court order for not amending the Ordinances pertaining to the post of Principals in consonance with the UGC Regulations, 2010.

6. In fact, if anything, it shows the keenness of the Vice-Chancellor and other officers to fill up posts of Principals without changing the Ordinances since doing so will also limit the term of appointment of a Principal to five years. It requires an inspection to find out as to who has disputed the clear position that the appointment had to be in accordance with the UGC Regulations. If it has been done in the name of the University of Delhi, it is a gross disregard for the Supreme Court, the Visitor and the Authorities of the University of Delhi, namely the Court, the Executive Council and the Academic Council. The position of the University in the High Court was not discussed or reported in the Executive Council meeting of 17.8.2-13. The attempt clearly is to use the High Court order to flout the laid down law and at the same time to mislead the High Court by deliberately not amending the Ordinances.

7. If it were not the case, necessary corrigendum could have been issued on amending the Ordinances even after the advertisement was issued. The administration has blocked that possibility by not allowing amendments to the relevant Ordinances. Such a brazen and arbitrary decision primarily to flout the five year term limit for a Principal is cause for much misgiving about how lawful the university governance is and whether there are vested interests in play to dole out longer terms as Principals to those close to the administration.

I would also like to inform you that nearly half the colleges in the University of Delhi are without regular Principals and many of these are being run through Officers on Special Duty. This is affecting the health and stability of these institutions. The immediate task for the Vice-Chancellor who is vested with the power of convening meetings of the Academic Council and the Executive Council was to have adopted appropriate amendments to the Ordinances so that regular appointments could have started in accordance with the UGC Regulations, 2010.

I urge you, therefore, to intervene in the matter at the earliest and issue directives to the University of Delhi to ensure that:

  • (a) The advertisement for the post of Principal, ARSD College issued on 15 August 2013 is withdrawn or modified to reflect the UGC regulations with regard to qualifications, term of appointment and selection committee.
  • (b) The recruitment of Principal in any other college does not take place without making the necessary amendments to the Ordinances.
  • (c) The Ordinances are amended in a time-bound manner.

I urge you to intervene in this matter at the earliest for lawful democratic governance in the University of Delhi

With regards,

Abha Dev Habib

Enclosed Annexures

  • 1. Annexure I: Clauses of the UGC Regulation, 2010 regarding appointment of Principals
  • 2. Annexure II: High Court Order of 23 July 2013
  • 3. Annexure III: Copy of the Advertisement.
  • 4. Annexure IV: Standing Directive of the Visitor
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