Controversial registrar of NLSIU resigns

Controversial registrar of NLSIU resigns

Registrar of National Law School of India (NLSIU). (DH Photo)

The registrar of National Law School of India (NLSIU), who many students blamed for delaying the appointment of the vice-chancellor, has resigned.

The news was relayed to students on WhatsApp on Saturday. In a curt, three-sentence message, students were told that Professor O V Nandimath had tendered his resignation before the university’s Executive Council which had accepted it unanimously. While Nandimath was scheduled to meet the Chief Justice of India to give his account, sources said he failed to go. Several professors that DH reached out to expressed surprise at the resignation.

Nandimath had served as a registrar as of the university after being selected by the Executive Council for the role for four straight terms. He had served in this capacity for seven years and was a teacher for first-year students, plus banking and finance to 4th-year students and postgraduate courses.

However, his appointment to the position of a registrar in 2013 was controversial even then, with the NLSIU alumni contesting his appointment, because his selection had been made outside established procedure and because other, more senior candidates had been passed over, according to a letter by NLSIU alumnus, Vikram Raghavan in July 2013.

Recently, matters came to head over the finalisation of the appointment of Professor Sudhir Krishnaswamy as vice-chancellor of the university. When Krishnaswamy’s appointment was delayed by 50 days, Nandimath came under attack by the Student Bar Association which charged him with stalling the appointment over a conflict of interest.

According to senior students at NLSIU, this entailed him submitting incomplete documents to the Chief Justice of India, and introducing a clause asking for confirmation of receipt of the appointment letter from members of the EC, which was no part of the protocol.

Some of these were documented in a recent report by a four-member sub-committee of professors and students constituted by the interim Vice-Chancellor M K Ramesh, to investigate the reason for the delays. A report submitted by the committee revealed that Nandimath did indeed have a conflict of interest as he himself had been a candidate for the post of VC. The report added that he had revealed this to the interim VC, Professor M K Ramesh.

A copy of his email, which was given to DH, showed him asking to be recused from the responsibilities of the appointment process. "This will probably instil confidence in the student body,” he had written, in an email dated, September 16, 2019. However, this offer was rejected by Professor Ramesh.