Jagadesh Kumar does not have the powers that he claims to have regarding decision-making on policy matters concerning the University, a statement by Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association said on Wedneday.

“Therefore, like it or not, he is by law, a Caretaker Vice Chancellor with restricted powers serving an interim period till the new appointee takes charge,” the association said.

“JNU is a Centrally funded university and no matter what the Caretaker Vice Chancellor may claim, the University Statutes explicitly do not allow for a second term for any Vice Chancellor. The only leeway provided is his continuance as an interim VC till the new incumbent is appointed. Therefore, like it or not, he is by law, a Caretaker Vice Chancellor with restricted powers serving an interim period till the new appointee takes charge”, the statement said.

However, as long as the JNU administration formulates its own laws bypassing due processes to manipulate decisions to suit their own ends, it becomes important to remember what the French philosopher Montesquieu once said “there is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice,” it added.

Official directives from the Vigilance department of the concerned Ministry calls upon Vice Chancellors of all Central Universities demitting office to refrain from “taking policy decisions including recruitments” two months prior to their tenure coming to an end. Based on this fact, Jagadesh Kumar does not have the powers that he claims to have regarding decision-making on policy matters concerning the University, the teachers association said.

The press reports summarizing the statement issued by the Registrar yesterday, illustrates the messy state of affairs in JNU. Jagadesh Kumar it was reported, does not like the adjective “caretaker” that JNUTA has been using to describe his current status within the University; and therefore even the Registrar that he appoints, without following the laid down procedures, too does not carry any indications of the temporary nature of the appointment, the statement said.

It was on March 17, 2021 through an Office Order issued by Deputy Registrar Administration that the university was informed about the appointment of a new Registrar. Like in all other matters the letter stated that the decision made had the “approval of the Competent Authority”, the statement said.

It may be noted that there has been no Executive Council meeting where the EC has deliberated on the matter or approval for this decision has been specifically sought.

The newly appointed Registrar’s backdoor entry into the Executive Council by a fiat issued by the Vice Chancellor therefore is not just suspect but also illegal.

To make matters worse, as has been pointed out by some of the Executive Council members themselves, for the first time in the history of JNU, the Registrar has been recorded by the university as being a member of the Executive Council, the association said.

–IANS

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