Bihar Governor Orders State Government to Stay Out Of Universities' Affairs

Bihar Governor Orders State Government to Stay Out Of Universities' Affairs

The Raj Bhavan on Thursday issued an instruction to the education department and the Bihar Government not to take any decision or accept any orders except those from Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar in the matter of running the affairs of universities in the state.

The instruction, issued on August 31 by Robert L Chongthu, principal secretary to the governor, said that "certain officials are attempting to create confusion illegally and recalcitrantly and are undermining the established autonomy of the university administration as well as the clearly laid down and unambiguous power and authority of the office of Chancellor in the matter of running the affairs of universities."

It instructed vice-chancellors of all universities in Bihar not to follow any orders except those from the Governor, Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar.

"In order to clarify the matter authoritatively, the Chancellor, in exercise of powers conferred on him under Section 9 Sub-Section (7) (ii) and (8) of the Bihar State University Act 1976, considers it necessary to issue direction to the Universities and, accordingly, to order that henceforth all Vice-Chancellors and other statutory officials and authorities of the Universities are required to comply with and carry out faithfully the orders and directions of, and to seek guidelines and clarification from, the Secretariat office of the Chancellor alone in the domains of administrative and academic affairs and interests of the Universities," it read.

The instruction goes on to say that they are in no position to feel obliged to heed in this regard any orders or directives issued without authority and jurisdiction over the statutorily ordained university affairs by any person in derogation to the clearly defined autonomy of the universities.

This isn't the first time that Raj Bhawan has issued such an order, as similar instructions were issued in 2009 to all vice-chancellors of Bihar by the Raj Bhavan when the late Devanand Konwar was the governor of Bihar.

The development comes after Governor Arlekar, last month, reversed an order of the Bihar Education Department to freeze the bank accounts of two officials at Muzaffarpur's Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar Bihar University.

The Education Department of Bihar had instructed the varsity to stop paying the salaries of the university vice-chancellor and pro-vice chancellor for their alleged failure to inspect an institution in their jurisdiction and for not attending a review meeting held by it.

Also, the Education Department of Bihar announced that they are accepting applications for the positions of VCs at five universities in Bihar. However, a few days after the announcement, the department withdrew the notification.

Last month, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also visited Raj Bhavan to meet the Governor.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been demanding the removal of KK Pathak, additional chief secretary of the education department.