President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday, 28 October, suspended Delhi University Vice Chancellor Professor Yogesh Tyagi for failing to “discharge duties and responsibilities entrusted to him” while also initiating an inquiry against him over allegations of dereliction of duty and lack of commitment.
Professor Tyagi’s suspension comes days after the Union Ministry of Education snubbed him for making appointments to the office of Registrar and attempting to replace the university’s Pro Vice Chancellor, while the VC was still on leave – a period during which Pro Vice Chancellor PC Joshi was in charge.
Earlier, a source in the Union Ministry of Education had told The Quint that Professor Tyagi may not make a comeback. According to the source, the ministry has undertaken a strict probe into the matter and is firm on ensuring compliance to law and order across campuses.
“The ministry is conducting a strict inquiry. We will not tolerate lawlessness on any campus, be it Delhi University or any other university.”The source said.
The inquiry was approved by the President of India, who’s also the Visitor of Delhi University, will also apply to actions taken by PC Jha, the South Campus Director who was appointed Registrar by Tyagi, while he was still on leave.
Why is Tyagi being probed?
On 2 July 2020, Tyagi was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi for a medical emergency, following which he has been on leave. Following this, the government asked PC Joshi, who was appointed Pro Vice Chancellor by Tyagi in June, to take over as acting Vice Chancellor.
All hell broke loose when on 21 October, Vice Chancellor Tyagi appointed PC Jha from the Department of Operation Research as Director of South Campus as well as interim Register.
Interestingly, both the positions were not vacant and were occupied by Suman Kundu, who was appointed by Pro Vice Chancellor Joshi in September this year.
Was VC Tyagi’s appointment challenged?
While Vice Chancellor Tyagi had appointed Jha the new Registrar, it was struck down as illegal by Pro Vice Chancellor Joshi at the Executive Council meeting, which, too, was scheduled on 21 September. While the EC meeting was presided over by Kundu, Pro Vice Chancellor Joshi had asked Registrar Jha to vacate his office.
By the same night, the Executive Council Unanimously appointed Vikas Gupta as Registrar – so at that point, DU had three individuals appointed to the same chair.
If this wasn’t complex enough, Vice Chancellor Tyagi on 22 October removed Pro Vice Chancellor Joshi from the post and appointed Dr Geeta Bhatt, Director of the Non-Collegiate Women’s Education Board, as the new Pro Vice Chancellor.
Dr Bhatt, in turn, issued another letter the same day, invalidating the appointment of Vikas Gupta as Registrar – from having three registrars, the DU now appeared to have two Pro Vice Chancellors.
When did the Education Ministry step in?
Waking up a day late to the leadership crisis at Delhi University, the Union Ministry of Education on 22 October wrote a letter saying that appointments made by Vice Chancellor Tyagi were invalid as he was on leave, while asking the vastity to not act on orders issued by him until and unless he resumes office with a fitness certificate.
The ministry said that a new Registrar had been appointed by without the “active knowledge” of Pro Vice Chancellor Joshi (acting VC), while adding that attempts were made to block the Executive Council’s meeting scheduled on 21 October.
“…It has been brought to the notice that a notification of charge of Registrar was issued on 21.10.2020 morning even before the working hours of the University without active knowledge of the Prof. P C Joshi who is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor having charge Vice-Chancellor at present as per the statute of the university and an attempt was made to block the conduct of Executive Council meeting scheduled on 21.10.2020 and functioning of the University by the Acting Registrar appointed by Prof. Yogesh Tyagi, who is on leave.”Letter issued by the Ministry of Education
(This author had reached out to Yogesh Tyagi, PC Joshi, PC Jha and Dr Geeta Bhat but hasn’t heard from any of them. The story will be updates as and when a response is received.)