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Mainstream, VOL XLIX, No 27, June 25, 2011

Democratise Universities

Tuesday 28 June 2011

COMMUNICATION

It is really disgusting and shocking that in our country, which is the largest parliamentary democracy of the world, there is no tinge of democracy in the highest temples of learning, that is, universities.

While the holder of the highest office of the country, the President of the Indian Union, can be impeached if he or she misuses his or her powers, judges of the Apex Court and judges of the High Courts can be impeached and Ministers both at the Centre and in the States are accountable and responsible to legislatures for all their actions and policies, the heads of universities, that is, Vice-Chancellors, cannot be impeached as there is no provision in any Act of the Indian universities for their impeachment if they violate the provisions of the University Act and University Statutes. The UGC, which is the controlling body of universities, and the HRD Ministry, the supreme body, have failed to take action against errant Vice-Chancellors who act like absolute monarchs.

Still more unfortunate is that at times, functionaries of the HRD Ministry shield the guilty and errant VCs. The latest is the case of the VC of the Aligarh Muslim University against whom there are grave charges and an enquiry committee set up by the President of the Indian Union is investigating into these charges but he is still at the helm of affairs of the university and has not been directed by the HRD Ministry to proceed on leave pending the completion of the enquiry. On the contrary, an important functionary of the HRD Ministry is fully shielding the VC and creating hurdles in the way of the enquiry committee.

The need of the hour is for Kapil Sibal, the HRD Minister, to take the initiative in amending the Acts of the Central universities in order to democratise them.

Dr M. Hashim Kidwai (Ex-Member of Parliament)

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