Chaos in Delhi University over the appointment of Registrar

Two Delhi University (DU) factions backed by the vice-chancellor and acting vice-chancellor appointed separate people as the registrar on Wednesday. By the end of the day, the acting vice-chancellor appointed a third person to the key post even as many questioned the legality of the meeting where the appointment was made.

The chaos began when the joint-registrar’s office issued a notification naming PC Jha as the director of the university’s south campus and as interim registrar from October 21. “He has been appointed as Director South Campus in place of Prof Suman Kundu… with immediate effect till further orders. He will also act as Registrar, University of Delhi, as an interim arrangement, with immediate effect till further orders,” the notification said.

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Officials familiar with the matter said vice-chancellor Yogesh Tyagi, who has been on medical leave, backed Jha’s appointment. Hours after the appointment, PC Joshi, who has been in charge of the university as the acting vice-chancellor in absence of Tyagi since June, wrote to Jha accusing him of “illegally occupying” the registrar’s office.

“In case you are not vacating the office immediately, you will be forcibly moved out of office and action initiated against you,” Joshi said in the letter to Jha.

Joshi later held a meeting of the university’s executive committee, where a resolution was passed to appoint Vikas Gupta as the registrar. Suman Kundu, who had been working as the acting registrar since September 2, presided over the meeting.

Joshi, who is the chairperson of the committee in Tyagi’s absence, also announced that Kundu would act as the director of the South campus and will also work “as acting registrar till permanent/new registrar joins duty”, contradicting the joint registrar’s notice.

The DU Teachers’ Association called the events of Wednesday “unprecedented chaos”. Rajib Ray, the head of the association, called the removal of one official and “threatening letters” extremely disturbing. “While one registrar occupied the office, the other was acting as member secretary of the scheduled meeting of the executive council, which the former had cancelled/postponed. This has never happened before in the history of the university.”

Pankaj Garg, a former DU academic council member, said the controversy is going to diminish the university’s image as an Institute of Eminence.

Rajesh Jha, an executive committee member, confirmed Gupta’s appointment during the panel’s meeting. “The meeting started after a long wait following the letter of appointment for a new registrar and director South Campus…”

Tyagi and Joshi did not immediately respond to HT requests for comments. The story will be updated when they respond.

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