Chhattisgarh governor Anusuiya Uikey on Thursday said that she will consult the President and University Grants Commission (UGC) after three senior ministers of the state’s Congress government met her urging to clear bills that curtails her powers to make appointments in the universities in the state.
On March 26, the Chhattisgarh legislative assembly passed five amendment bills curtailing her powers, a few weeks after Uikey appointed Baldev Bhai Sharma as vice-chancellor of Kushabhau Thakre University and re-appointed Vans Gopal Singh as vice-chancellor of Pandit Sundarlal Sharma Open University in Bilaspur.
Sharma was editor of RSS’ mouthpiece ‘Panchjanya’ and was also a biographer of former Sangh sarsanghchalak KS Sudarashan and Singh is considered close to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Chhattisgarh forest minister Mohammad Akbar, Agriculture Minister Ravindra Chaubey and higher education minister Umesh Patel met the Governor for seeking her views on the amendment bills that increases state government’s oversight over the state universities and ‘reduces’ the governor’s role.
“We came here for discussion over amendment bills of state universities which were passed in the last assembly and were pending with the governor… We urged the governor for approval of the bills pending with her,” said Chaubey while speaking to media persons.
“The amendment bill has been passed by legislative assembly and is pending for approval with the governor. She (the Governor) had sought certain clarifications about the bills which were sent by the government but approval has not been given,” said a senior official working with the chief minister’s office (CMO).
The official said that Gujarat government has amended the university appointment rule in 2009 and had reduced the role of Governor in appointing vice-chancellors of the state universities. “In Gujarat, the governor approved the amendment and the state government has powers to appoint vice-chancellors now,” the official said.
Commenting over the pending bills, Governor Uikey said she has no intention of delaying approval of any bills and was working as per the law.
“After they sent me these five bills for approval, I sent a letter to the higher education department in April and asked about comparative details of such amendments in other states. Four days back, they sent me an answer claiming that Gujarat and one other state had made similar amendments in the past. I asked for the UGC guidelines on such amendments and found that the bill flouts UGC guidelines also,” said the Governor.
Uikey said that she will consult UGC and the President of India over these amendments.
“I am working as per my constitutional powers of Governor and since it is a matter of students and education, I will consult legal experts, UGC and President of India and then take further steps,” she added.