The demand for the removal of the registrar in-charge of the Pondicherry University (PU), a central university has gathered steam. Dr B Chithra has been charged with false claims of Leave Travel Concession (LTC) during her deputation at the Indian Maritime University (IMU) and not possessing the minimum educational qualification at the time of her appointment in PU as assistant registrar.
As per information obtained through a Right to Information (RTI) petition, the office of the Principal Director of Audit (Central), Chennai, has concluded that her initial appointment as assistant registrar of PU was irregular.
The Students’ Federation of India (SFI) has also alleged that she has been acting against students’ union and continued to refuse the applications and memoranda of SFI regarding the issues faced by the students. However, she reportedly conducted hour-long meetings with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), thus promoting right-wing activism in the campus.
CPI (M) Demands Immediate Removal of Registrar (I/C)
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI (M)] has demanded the immediate removal of the registrar as per the recommendations of the performance audit report submitted by the office of the Principal Director of Audit (Central). CPI(M) has also alleged that her arbitrary order banning the students’ union activities in the campus, while favouring the functioning of the ABVP is highly condemnable. Dr Chithra in the capacity of Registrar (I/C) has reportedly banned the activities of students’ unions on July 3. The CPI (M) statement alleged that she is hand-in-glove with the ABVP to protect herself from any disciplinary actions from the union government, since ABVP is the student wing of the ruling BJP.
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The left party also alleged that the university has been facing financial crisis due to the limitless spending of the Vice Chancellor and the other officials of the university. The financial burden has been passed on to the students forcing them to pay more for their studies and transportation facilities. The party also alleged the University of improper allocation of construction works at exorbitantly high cost and the needless construction of watch tower for the Vice Chancellor’s residence quarters.
Audit Concludes Initial Appointment as Irregular
Chithra was appointed as assistant registrar of the PU vide the university’s letter No. PU /Estt/E1/IIA (60)/89/8822 dated 27.9.1989. The PU had notified in its recruitment notification Advt. 1/88 dated 27.1.1988 that the candidates should have completed Masters Degree and have two years experience at the time of submitting the application on April 1989. However, Chithra was pursuing her post graduate law degree in PU itself and as per the mark sheets she had graduated only in June 1989.
Her being a post graduate student till June 1989 completely eliminates the possibility of her acquiring two years experience in any state or central government departments or institutions of higher learning in finance/administration/academic/development or reputed private/public sector companies as stipulated in the recruitment advertisement.
Her appointment was challenged in the Madras High Court claiming that she did not possess the minimum qualifications for the post of assistant registrar.
No Details of Dismissal of Case Available
The PU office memorandum stated that the Madras High Court stayed her appointment to the post of assistant registrar. The memorandum further claimed that she joined PU on 27.9.1989 after the case was dismissed in her favour. But the auditor general has not found any documents regarding the dismissal of the case.
The Principal Director of Audit (Central), Chennai, in the letter dated July 12, 2018, has cited several judgements relating to appointment in state or central governments posts without the minimum qualifications ending in termination of service. The PU was also recommended of: ‘irregular initial appointment of Smt B Chithra as Assistant Registrar is brought to notice for necessary action’. But one year on, no action has been taken by the PU administration and she has been appointed as the Registrar (I/C) of the university without considering the serious violations.
IMU Repatriates Deputation on Irregularities
Chithra was on deputation to the Indian Maritime University (IMU), another central university as the Controller of Examinations. She was repatriated back to PU on August 5, 2013, as per the decision of the Executive Council (EC) meeting of the IMU held on August 1, 2013. The allegations included grant of excess increments on deputation, non mentioning of period of deputation to IMU, false claim of Leave Travel Concession (LTC) dated February 2, 2013, which she later cancelled on May 10, 2013.
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Another important allegation was the findings of the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of the IMU regarding irregularities in the issue of printing and supply orders for question papers and statement of mark sheets. She filed a writ petition against the Chairman of IMU EC and the Registrar for the removal of the statement on irregularities in the Madras High Court and managed to expunge it from the IMU minutes.
Irregularities- A Regularity in PU
The PU being a central university is expected to maintain superior quality in terms of academic as well as administrative set up. But the track record of the university cuts a sorry figure with a Vice Chancellor being forced to demit office for plagiarism and the removal of couple of Registrars for violations of norms. Even the present Vice Chancellor has been alleged of plagiarism while serving in the department of Chemistry, University of Delhi.
As such, the VC’s reluctance to take action against the Registrar in office is quite understandable. The union government’s silence on such crucial issues can have serious effect on the excellence of the premier educational institution in the country.
The report can be accessed here.