Shillong, Dec 8: Three organizations in North Eastern Hills University have alleged that the Vice-Chancellor has proposed to amend the University’s statute so as to ensure his term of office is extended.
In a statement issued here, the Meghalaya Tribal Teachers’ Association (MeTTA), North-Eastern Hill University Teachers’ Association (NEHUTA) and Meghalaya Confederation for Academic Welfare (MeCAW) alleged that the term extended caretaker Vice-Chancellor Prof.S.K.Srivastava is grossly misusing continuance in his office to amend an important statute of the central university that may extend his term of office.
“As the process of selection of the new VC is on, such patently unstatutory, illegal and immoral act of proposing to amend University’s statute 2(A) (2) that concerns with extension of the term of office of the incumbent VC under the specific direction of the Visitor maximum up to one year or until the new VC joins, whichever is earlier”, the organizations said.
The organizations said that the apparent intent behind proposing to amend the statute is to benefit himself of another extension, if an amendment is allowed to that effect by University’s academic council.
Further they said that such an act of amending a statute that concerns office of the term extended VC himself is a grave conflict of interest, which is not only untenable from the statutory perspective, but it is a grave act of impropriety when a caretaker or term extended VC cannot use any ‘statutory powers’ as stated in letter from erstwhile MHRD dated 7th August, 2014.
The said letter clearly stated that “an officer appointed to perform current duties of an appointment can exercise administrative or financial power but he cannot exercise statutory powers, whether those powers are derived direct from an act of parliament..”
The organizations said that a Vice Chancellor such as Srivastava is only permitted to hold his office and is not supposed to exercise any statutory power derived from NEHU Act, 1973.
“Statutory powers vested on a regular VC does not apply on a post holder, term expired VC who is permitted to continue to hold the office for a directed period conditionally such as Prof.S.K.Srivastava. Yet by crossing all constitutional and legal laxman rekhas, in sheer abuse and misuse of his office, Prof.S.K.Srivastava intends to chair meetings of statutory councils and even go to the extent of changing statutes of the University”, the organizations said.
The organizations said that the excuse that Prof.S.K.Srivastava took while proposing amendment to the statute is to refer to some other universities and bring NEHU statute at par with other central universities.
The organizations questioned whether a term-expired VC take such a policy decision with a long term effect especially when government of India had asked the VC’s performing duties of an appointment to strictly follow such a restriction of not using any statutory powers.
The organizations said that they have brought the matter to the notice of higher authorities to stop such illegal acts of statute amendment by a caretaker VC.