FPJ Explains: Why DU VC was suspended by President Kovind

On Wednesday, the President placed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Delhi, Yogesh Tyagi, who has been on medical leave since July, under suspension, after giving a go ahead to an inquiry against him. But what transpired that led to this event?

After a never ending tussle between top DU officials which lead to the university having two Registrars and two Pro Vice-Chancellors at the same time, the matter reached the ears of the Education Ministry which approached the President.

The issue first came to light on October 21, when Tyagi appointed a new Acting Registrar, PC Jha, on the day an Executive Council meeting of the university was scheduled. Sources close to him point out that he was not happy with the fact that names of the permanent appointments to the post of Registrar that were to be revealed in the meeting had not been shared with him even after his prior request.

Pro Vice-Chancellor P C Joshi deemed the appointment made by Tyagi as ‘illegal’ since Tyagi was on leave, and the appointment could not be valid. What followed was nothing short of some drama sorts, when Joshi held the EC meeting without newly pointed Jha, and with then-Acting Registrar Suman Kundu presiding over it.

Vikas Gupta was elected Registrar by the EC. In retaliation, Vice-Chancellor Tyagi, removed Joshi as Pro VC and replaced him with Geeta Bhatt. Thus, DU then came to have two Registrars and two Pro VCs, with none willing to back down.

With all the back and forth that happened, notices being issued and orders being declared ‘null and void’, the education ministry stepped in to initiate an inquiry against Tyagi over several issues, including ‘unauthorised absence’.

Many say that this issue is the result of who has a say in the appointment of the next VC, as Tyagi’s tenure ends in March 2021. Since both camps in the EC want their people in the race, that is at the centre of the conflict.

The Statute 11-H, clause (5) is being used by both sides to defend their case. The statute states that “When the Vice-Chancellor is on leave or is away from town for any other reason, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor shall perform the functions of the Vice-Chancellor”. While thousands of students await the opening of the university given the fight with the pandemic, what’s brewing behind closed doors is a war no less.

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