Jammu: Alleging that the Draft Bill is aimed at ending the autonomy of the Universities in the UT, Jammu University, Teaching and non-teaching members have demanded the withdrawal of the J&K Public Universities Bill 2022.
“This bill is uncalled for, and at aimed at ending the autonomy of the universities in Jammu and Kashmir. The universities’ financial autonomy was never something to talk about, but now this bill is a direct attack on our Administrative and Academic autonomy as well,” they said.
The Administrative Council (AC) led by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha recently approved the Jammu and Kashmir Public University Bill 2022. However, all Universities across India are governed by University Grants Commission (UGC) rules and regulations.
Recalling that Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha had mentioned that he was open for a discussion on the bill, the Jammu University teaching and non-teaching members demanded that they be called for a meeting by the Raj Bhavan.
Faculty members said the aforementioned Bill tends to erode the autonomy of this Institution, and the University in the UT.
Apart from Financial, the Bill is the direct interference in the Administrative and Academic autonomy of the University, and meddling into the internal affairs would disturb the working atmosphere, besides downgrade the basic spirit of educational Institutions in J&K.
“Every university has its constituent act and is working in accordance with that Act. The universities in J&K are of good repute, very old and are among the top 75 universities in India. We are growing, and our research and faculty is of international level. There is no need for a new bill. If there is any deficiency or if there is a need for transparency, the government can modify the governing act of the universities,” they said.
“We will not tolerate the bureaucracy interference, that this bill seeks to facilitate,” they added. The bill, it may be mentioned, proposes that the appointment to any post in all universities would be filled by JKPSC and SSRB, which has led to widespread resentment among the teaching and student fraternity.
According to the Bill, no University which receives any financial support from the Government shall without the prior approval and written consent of the Government create any post in any category, including temporary, revise the pay, grant any special pay, allowance, divert any earmarked funds or take any decision regarding affiliated colleges that has the potential to result in increased financial liability.
Other key points proposed in the Bill, include dismissal of any employee of the university without an enquiry in the interest of the security of the State, nomination of university Registrar by the Government on deputation basis, appointment of a Finance Officer by the Government, transfer of any employee from one university to another university and constitution of J&K Higher Education Council, which shall act as advisory body for higher education in Jammu and Kashmir.
Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, who shall be the Chancellor of the University, has the supreme powers in respect of all decisions and his decision shall be final and must be complied with by the university forthwith. He may suspend or modify any resolution, order or proceeding of any authority, body, committee or officer which, in his opinion, is not in conformity with this Act or is not in the interest of the university.
Further, where the Chancellor is satisfied that any officer, teacher or any employee (part time, casual or temporary) of the university, including pensioners, has/had acted in a manner prejudicial to the security of the State or the unity and integrity of the country, he may dismiss or remove or reduce in rank any such employee or take such other action as appropriate without an inquiry.
The Act says that the Chancellor may, where he feels that in the interest of academic excellence or administrative exigency necessary to do so and after such consultation with the Vice-Chancellors of the Public Universities concerned as he may deem necessary, transfer any employee from one university to another university constituted under this Act.
As per the new Act, the Vice-Chancellor shall be the Principal Executive and academic officer of the University, the Chairperson of the Academic Council and co-chairperson of the Finance and Audit Committee and shall be entitled to be present and speak at any meeting of any authority or other body of the University and shall in the absence of the Chancellor preside over the meetings of the Governing Council. He shall hold office for a term of three years from the date on which he enters upon his office and shall, on the expiration of his term of office, be eligible for reappointment to that office for a second term: Provided that no person who has exceeded the age of sixty-five years can continue to hold an appointment as Vice-Chancellor.
The Registrar shall be the Chief Administrative Officer of the University. The Government shall nominate any serving officer of the administrative services or any eligible serving civil servant of appropriate seniority, to act as the Registrar.
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Governing Council, the top decision making body of the Universities, shall consist of the Chancellor; Chief Secretary, Vice-Chancellor; Administrative Secretary of Higher Education Department; Administrative Secretary Finance Department; two Deans of the University, to be nominated by the Vice-Chancellor on rotation for three years from the date of nomination; three teachers to be nominated by the Vice-Chancellor from amongst the teaching faculty of the University, one each representing the Professor, Associate Professor, and Assistant Professor, based on seniority and rotation in the respective cadres; two persons nominated by the Chancellor, out of a panel submitted by the Higher Education Department.