Finally, 6 varsities get VCs

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s marathon meeting with Governor Vajubhai Vala on Monday yielded results, with the latter appointing vice chancellors to six universities as recommended by the State government.

An official communique from Raj Bhavan late on Monday confirmed the following appointments. Karnatak University, Dharwad: Pramod B Gai; Rani Channamma University, Belagavi: S B Hosamani; Gulbarga University, Kalaburagi: S R Niranjana; Kuvempu University, Shivamogga: Jogan Shankar; Krishnadevaraya University, Ballari: M S Subhas; Sanskrit University: Padma Shekar.

Earlier in the day, Siddaramaiah met Vala and explained to him that the government had followed all norms and procedures on the issue of appointment of vice chancellors to six state universities.

The meeting at Raj Bhavan, which lasted for two hours, is also seen as an effort by the chief minister to foster better ties with Raj Bhavan. The Governor rejecting files sent by the government has become a sort of norm.

In the last few months, the governor has returned an ordinance to trifurcate the BBMP and rejected four nominations to the KPSC sent by the government. Siddaramaiah explained to Vala that the State government’s recommendation on the appointment of vice chancellors to the six universities was in accordance with the provisions of the Karnataka State Universities Act, 2000, sources said.

Higher Education Minister R V Deshpande accompanied the chief minister. Vala, who is the chancellor of all the state universities, had sent the file pertaining to the appointment of vice chancellors back to the government seeking clarification whether the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines had been followed. The posts of vice chancellors to the six universities had been lying vacant for 10 months.

Sources said the chief minister clarified that the provisions of the Karnataka State Universities Act need to be followed during appointment of vice chancellors and the UGC guidelines need not be applied.

Sources said the governor had also taken objection to the government sending a single name, instead of a panel of names, for appointment of each vice chancellor. The Karnataka State Universities Act states: “The search committee shall submit to the State government a panel of three persons, who are eminent academicians, in the alphabetical order. The State government shall forward the panel to the chancellor who shall keeping in view merit, equity and social justice and with the concurrence of the State government, appoint one person from the panel as the vice chancellor.”

Earlier in the day, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Jagadish Shettar accused the chief minister of confronting the governor. The governor is discharging his constitutional duties. Siddaramaiah should not behave like Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal by taking on the head of the State, he said.

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