A very ugly impasse took over DU on Wednesday 21st October when P.C. Jha controversially appointed himself as the acting registrar and acting director of the South Campus. His appointment letter stated the approval of the Vice-Chancellor Yogesh K. Tyagi who had been on sick leave for almost a month. It also contained the appointment of Geeta Bhatt as the Pro-VC. Tyagi’s absence had not been doing him any good for a long time. And then the Executive Council added fuel to the fire when it hailed his appointments as illegal. According to the Delhi University (DU) Act, the Council alone can appoint either official; the vice-chancellor, who heads the council, cannot do so by himself.
“Professor Yogesh Tyagi should take responsibility or else allow the university to be governed by other officials as mandated by the DU Act. The university cannot be pushed into further mess.”
— Rajib Ray, DUTA President
This chaos occurred amidst a council meeting on Wednesday when the process of appointing a regular registrar was already midway. Acting Pro-VC P.C. Joshi who has been doubling as acting VC in Tyagi’s absence, headed the council. After Jha pre-empted the meeting, Joshi wrote to the Education Ministry stating that the appointments by Jha and Tyagi were notified without his knowledge. The council later approved Vikash Gupta to be the regular registrar. On Thursday 22nd October the Ministry wrote back to Gupta saying that Tyagi’s orders were not valid. It also recommended an inquiry against the VC to the Visitor, that is, President of India.
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Jha retaliated on Friday and wrote to the ministry saying that Tyagi had appointed him and Bhatt in compliance with the Acts, statutes and ordinances governing the University. He explained his stand to The Times of India by making the following remarks.
“The question being raised is about the vice-chancellor’s leave, but who does the VC take leave from? The vice-chancellor is appointed by the Visitor, and DU is an autonomous institution. The moment the vice-chancellor signs a document, it means he has already rejoined office. This is part of the Delhi University Act.”
AIIMS admitted Yogesh Tyagi on 2nd July, and he has been on sick leave ever since. The government had given Joshi charge of VC on 17th July, until Tyagi resumed office. The latter’s term ends in March 2021 and nobody has been able to contact him ever since this chaos erupted. A lot of teachers have marked Tyagi’s tenure as inactive. “He may be on official leave but for all practical purposes, he has been on leave since the beginning,” said EC member Rajesh Jha. With his reputation preceding him, this week’s drama has only given the government a final impetus for his dismissal. The ministry has now requested the intervention of the President in the matter. It also requests to send Tyagi on leave pending the inquiry.
While on the other hand, Vikash Gupta has issued a statement claiming all orders issued without the approval of Pro-VC Joshi as inapplicable. “It is hereby clarified that Prof P C Joshi, pro-vice-chancellor will act as vice-chancellor and is the only competent authority to approve issue orders as per the provisions of the Act, statutes and ordinances of the University.” We still await a response from the President.