retired judges can’t be Lokpal in universities

Indore: University Grants Commission (UGC) has released a draft of Grievance Redressal Regulations- 2018 wherein it has proposed names of former vice chancellor, retired registrar and retired faculty member with at least 10 years of experience as professor for appointment of ombudsperson (Lokpal) in universities.

This draft has come as a jolt to retired district judges who, till date, are eligible for ombudsperson’s post at varsities. Under UGC Grievance Redressal Regulations- 2012, the retired judges not below the ranks of district judge and retired faculty member with at least 10 years of experience as professor were the only ones who were eligible for Lokpal’s post. When the state government this year geared up for filling the post in universities, three retired registrars including Subhash Arya and RD Musalgaonkar who reside in Indore had objected to the eligibility criteria for the post.

They had stated that retired registrars and not retired judges should be considered for appointment on Lokpal post as they (former registrars) were part of university system. After the voices against the eligibility criteria were raised from the city, UGC set up a committee of experts to prepare a new draft for grievance redressal of students.

The biggest change in the existing regulations and the new draft is the change in the eligibility criteria. “The draft does not mention judges as eligible for the ombudsperson post whereas retired vice chancellor and retired registrars have been made eligible,” said Prof GS Pandey, a faculty at Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya.

He also stated that the UGC has limited the role of government in appointment of Lokpal. As per Regulations-2012, a search committee would be formed which will comprise nominee of Governor, two vice chancellors of government run varsities recommended by the government, one vice chancellor of private university recommended by government and secretary (higher education) as convenormember. Dominated by the government nominees, the search committee would then recommend a panel of three to the university for appointment of Lokpal.

The UGC has not proposed change in the search panel. It has recommended for one nominee by Governor, one nominee (VC of government university) by government, vice chancellor of university concerned and registrar of the university concerned as secretary. The draft also proposed for appointment of Lokpal by Executive Council of the university from the names suggested by search panel.

retired judges ruling the roost

The search committees constituted for recommending names of Lokpals to the universities some months ago had pressed for district judges mostly. At DAVV also, a panel of three was recommended. All the three members in the panel were retired judges. NK Satsangi was then appointed as Lokpal of the DAVV. His term is for three years. In other universities also mostly retired judges are Lokpals.

Lokpal not to hear sexual harassment plaints

Regulations-2012 included complaints related to sexual harassment of students and caste discrimination but the draft is silent on both these complaints. It is only for taking up complaints pertaining to delay in exam, results, charge of access fee, delay in payment of scholarship, confiscation of original documents of students etc.

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