Tura, Nov 16,2017: An RTI has revealed a startling fact on the appointment of the vice chancellor (VC) of North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) with documents showing the appointment was done through the recommendation of the then minister of MHRD, Smriti Z Irani, a vast movement away from established protocol.
Established laws and protocol states that it is the visitor (the President of India), who is the appointing authority after the selection committee comprising of three persons – one nominated by the president and two by the executive council completes the selection process. The MHRD is supposed to act as the postman – delivering information on the entire selection process to the Visitor for his consideration on appointment of the VC without favour or recommendation.
According to the RTI, over 100 applications had been received by the three member committee Selection committee, which had Professor RP Tewari (vice chancellor of Dr Harisingh Gour Vishwavidyalaya Sagar) who was the visitor’s nominee and convenor, WMS Pariat (chief secretary of the Meghalaya government) executive council nominee and Dr T Karunakaran (vice chancellor of MG Chitrakoot Gramodaya Vishwavidyalaya) another executive council nominee.
The above council, after advertisement had completed the entire process and shortlisted five names for consideration by the Visitor on Sep 15, 2015. The five names recommended were Prof LK Jha, Prof RHD Lyngdoh, Prof D Sakthisekharan, Prof GD Sharma and Prof SK Srivastava. The names put forward were not on the basis of merit but just on the final selection, leaving the appointment up to the Visitor to choose.
“The Visitor has the discretion to choose any of the five or even consult the Selection Committee for their thoughts on the matter. This should have been done without bias and left to the President of India,” said retired faculty member of NEHU, JP Jaiswal.
However the established procedures and laws were given the short shrift by the then Union MHRD minister, Smriti Irani, with a file noting sent by her to the President stating ‘Prof SK Srivastava may be considered’.
“This shows manipulation of selection by the minister who had no role other than to provide the recommendations of the selection committee to the President for consideration,” added JP Jaiswal.
Interestingly Prof LK Jha, whose name appeared first on the list of candidates, had filed a complaint to the current president, Ram Nath Kovind in the month of October this year, complaining that he had been overlooked despite being the first on the list and seeking a cancellation of the appointment.
NEHU has been established as a Central University in the year 1973. The university as of late has been embroiled in controversy of sexual harassment charges against professors as well as graft in various contracts of the University.