Mysuru: The ‘Search Committee’, meeting which was held on May 12 in Bengaluru to shortlist the candidates for the Vice-Chancellor’s post, is now shifted to Delhi, where it will hold its second meeting on May 22! And, this is the first time in the history of the University of Mysore that such a step is being taken.
The keen observers of the happenings in the University are upset that the second meeting is shifted to Delhi, which would result in a loss to the University, as it has to foot the bill of the Search Committee members who have to travel to Delhi to attend the meeting.
All this is because a member of the Search Committee who is a nominee from the University of Mysore Syndicate is not able to attend the meeting in Bengaluru. The nominee is a distinguished Professor and former Chairman of University Grants Commission, Prof. Hari Gautam.
According to a Syndicate Member, Prof. Gautam is suffering from severe back ache and he had been expressing his inability to attend the Search Committee meeting in the past too. In fact, it is said that he was absent in the Search Committee meeting held on May 12 at Bengaluru to shortlist the candidates for the Vice-Chancellor’s post.
The other members of the Committee are VTU former Vice-Chancellor Dr. H.P. Khincha (Government nominee), Kalburgi Central University Vice-Chancellor Prof. H.M. Mahadevaiah (Governor’s nominee) and Dr. V.S. Chauhan (UGC nominee) who were all present at the meeting on May 12.
Since, Prof. Gautam is insisting that the meeting be held in Delhi, the other members are forced to go to Delhi for the meeting on May 22 at the UGC office.
This is the first time that the Search Committee meeting is being held outside the State. In no University in the country has a meeting of such importance, been held outside the jurisdiction of the University. Hitherto, the Search Committee meeting related to the selection of the Vice-Chancellor was held at the Higher Education Department office in Bengaluru. However, contrary to this practice, the meeting being shifted to Delhi is creating a controversy.
The question that is being asked is if the Delhi-based member Prof. Chauhan can come to Bengaluru why is it not possible for Prof. Hari Gautam to attend the meeting in Bengaluru? If he had health issues, then the Syndicate of the University of Mysore could have nominated another member. Why is it that his name was persisted with, ask the observers.
A Syndicate Member speaking to Star of Mysore on condition of anonymity said, “A few members did object to his name. However, many a times it will not come to our notice at all when some developments like this take place.”
He revealed that he had even brought the development to the notice of the Higher Education Minister, who brushed it aside telling him, “After all it is your Syndicate which nominated Prof. Hari Gautam.”
Even though it is possible for the Search Committee with three members to shortlist three names of the Vice-Chancellors, it was felt by the Government that it could lead to problems if the fourth member is not there and hence it was decided to bow to the pressure of Prof. Gautam and hold the meeting in Delhi.
However, there are chances that a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) could be filed in this regard and if this happens then the whole process of selection could once again be stalled, said the Syndicate Member.
It is learnt that the name of the acting Vice-Chancellor Prof. Mane which was in the running is now not there in the shortlisted candidates of 20 or 12 ( the exact number which is still not clear).
Meanwhile, a few of the aspirants whom Star of Mysore spoke to pleaded that their names be kept in the dark because there were many forces who would jeopardise their chance, if any, by writing anonymous letters. However, the two names that of a Muslim and a Kuruba, who is considered close to the Chief Minister are doing the rounds. But, the CM himself is apprehensive and is not sure that the final list of three candidates, once it is finalised and sent to the Governor, will be approved. He is not confident, as in the past too, the Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala had ignored the names sent by the Government and chosen the name that he felt fit. For instance, when the Vice-Chancellors for KSOU and Women’s University was finalised, it was the Governor, who had his say ignoring the names sent by the Government, it is said.
The V-C’s post is lying vacant since the past four months, as the tenure of the Vice-Chancellor Prof K.S. Rangappa had ended on Jan.10. After the term of the acting V-C Prof. Yashwant Dongre ended in February, Prof Dayanand Mane is now the acting Vice-Chancellor.