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Explained: For the first time in its 98-year history, a Delhi University VC is suspended. What were Yogesh Tyagi’s faults?

Tyagi’s tenure was to have ended in March 2021. The education ministry has brought into the open the brewing discontent between the ministry and the VC on the vacant faculty positions. It was also not happy with the way Tyagi handled the 2019 teachers’ protest.

October 29, 2020 / 02:46 PM IST

For the first time in Delhi University’s 98-year history, a Vice Chancellor has been suspended. Yogesh Tyagi was suspended on October 28 on the orders of President Ram Nath Kovind.

This move assumes significance because the education ministry has brought into the open the brewing discontent between the ministry and the VC on the vacant faculty positions. Also, it wasn't happy with the way Tyagi handled the 2019 teachers’ protest over reappointments, where the government had to intervene to resolve the issue.

His tenure was to end in March 2021.

In an order on October 28, the education ministry said that Tyagi, who was appointed in March 2016 as Vice Chancellor of University of Delhi, failed to discharge the duties and responsibilities entrusted to him.

Moneycontrol brings you the details of what exactly went wrong during his tenure that led to his suspension:

Multiple positions vacant

As per the Delhi University Act, it is the responsibility of the VC to ensure that all the key positions at the administration level are filled.

However, the education ministry said that Tyagi did not fill statutory posts despite regular follow-ups. One such position is that of the Pro Vice Chancellor, who assists the VC in all academic and administrative matters. During the absence of the VC, the pro VC performs the functions of the VC.

However, the post of Pro VC has been lying vacant since June 2016, until professor PC Joshi was appointed in June 2020. This was after great pursuance, said the education ministry.

PC Joshi will now function as VC.

Similarly, the Registrar’s post was vacant between March to October 2020. The posts of finance officer and treasurer are vacant since March 2020. The Controller of Examination’s post is also vacant for the last six years.

The Registrar is responsible for creating the academic schedules and also help create tools for academic progress. In his/her absence, teachers have to individually make the plans for each lecture. Similarly, the finance officer/treasurer is responsible for handling the funds available and looks after adequate distribution to all departments of the university.

The Controller of Examination is responsible for conducting exams and declaring results on time. This post being vacant puts the additional responsibility of conducting exams on the professors.

Sources said that there were constant disagreements between Tyagi and the executive council on who should be appointed and also questions were raised on the credibility of candidates suggested by him.

The education ministry said that the inordinate delay in appointment of permanent principals in many colleges is also an issue of grave concern.

Ad-hoc arrangements in key posts

The education ministry was also miffed with the fact that instead of filling up the posts, Tyagi had made ad-hoc or temporary arrangements for posts like Dean of Colleges (handling 90 institutes) and Director, South Campus (handling over 20 colleges).

The education ministry said that the Delhi HC also had a three-member committee for expeditious filling up of posts. Though timelines were drawn up by the University, only a few posts were filled up on a regular basis.

Also, the Parliamentary Committee on welfare of SC/ST, in its meeting on October 10, 2020, expressed displeasure over non-filing of a large number of backlog vacancies in the SC/ST category.

The ministry said that despite many meetings, no substantial progress has been made by the VC on the above issues.

Pending complaints

The education ministry order also pointed out that certain vigilance complaints and sexual harassment cases in the University are pending for more than two years in violation of the provisions of law. This, according to the ministry, shows insensitivity on the part of the VC in disposing such matters.

A similar delay in resolving teachers’ grievances led to an agitation across colleges. The order said that the administrative negligence of Tyagi came to the fore in handling the matter of ad-hoc teachers, resulting in a huge agitation of the teachers’ fraternity. This led to the loss of teaching and learning days.

Making parallel appointments

Yogesh Tyagi was admitted to AIIMS, Delhi, for surgery in July 2020. The government said that he neither sought leave nor informed the Executive Council about his absence. The education ministry has also alleged that he hasn’t attended crucial meetings including those held for the implementation of National Education Policy in September.

Further, when the executive council was to meet on October 10, Tyagi informed that the proposal for appointments be postponed for 10 days. Thereafter, the meeting was fixed for October 21. Education ministry officials said that he wanted to postpone this meeting once again but faced opposition.

Just before the executive meeting on October 21, Tyagi appointed PC Jha as Interim Registrar while remaining in absence.

Officials allege that Jha tried to disrupt the ongoing Executive Council meeting. However, this was not allowed, as the Executive Council resolved that professor Suman Kundu would continue as Director, South Delhi campus, and Acting Registrar till permanent/ duly appointed registrar joins.

Subsequently, Tyagi remaining in absence made other appointments, including that of Geeta Bhatt as Pro-Vice Chancellor. The education ministry has said that Tyagi tried to hamper the smooth conduct of Executive Council Meeting and Selection Committee meetings by making parallel appointments.

“The Vice Chancellor is not administering the university in accordance with the provisions of the said Act, Statutes, ordinance of University of Delhi, which has caused misgovernance and malfunctioning of University of Delhi. This is not conducive for appropriate academic as well as administrative environment of the University,” said the education ministry order.

The ministry said that all orders issued by Tyagi during the period of his absence on medical ground after July 17 are set aside and to be treated as null and void.

Tyagi has been put under suspension with immediate effect until further orders. The education ministry said that this is because he may influence/coerce the witnesses and tamper with the material records of the university.

What next?

The ministry will conduct a detailed enquiry into the activities of the VC. Post this, a report will be presented and any further action against Tyagi will be taken based on the recommendations.

M Saraswathy
M Saraswathy
first published: Oct 29, 2020 01:30 pm