'Tainted' academician tippedto be Law university VC

'Tainted' academician tippedto be Law university VC

Shortlisting of University of Mysore (UoM) Law professor C Basavaraju's name for the post of vice-chancellor of Karnataka State Law University (KSLU) by a government-constituted search committee, has kicked up a controversy.

The state government is in serious consideration of finalising the name of Prof Basavaraju, who was suspended by the state government (in the capacity as registrar of UoM) in October 2016 on   charges of dereliction of duty, misconduct, insubordination and cheating. The government reinstated him this July this year, pending action.

Also, the government had annulled his very appointment to UoM a few years ago, following the Justice Rangavittalachar Commission recommendations. The High Court of Karnataka had upheld the government's decision.

Interestingly, Prof Basavaraju was appointed to the Law department in 2006-07 by the then UoM vice chancellor J Shashidhar Prasad, who is presently heading the four-member search committee.

Though Prasad too was indicted by the judicial commission, which had recommended penal action against him, the government had failed to initiate any action.

This despite the commission proving all 123 appointments (including Prof Basavaraju's) as illegal, citing violation of several rules such as University Grants Commission regulations, the recruitment rules and reservation policies laid down by the state government.

Basavaraju is one among the four academicians who are vying for the post, which has been lying vacant for the last two years.

Of the 12 applications that were received, the serach panel is learnt to have shortlisted the names of Prof Eshwar Bhat, VC, National Law University, Kolkata; Prof K R Aitaal, retired professor, Karnatak University, Dharwad; Prof C Rajashekar, Dean, Karnatak University, Dharwad; and Prof Basavaraju.

Prof Basavaraju is tipped to be the frontrunner for the VC's post. The search committee report has been forwarded by the Law, Justice and Human Rights department to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who is yet to send the same to Governor Vajubhai Vala.

In 2008, Siddaramaiah himself had demanded Prof Basavaraju's annulment after charges of illegalities had surfaced. Interestingly, Prof Basavaraju is also learnt to be vying for the UoM VC's post. The term of the acting VC, Dayanand Mane is said to end on November 22.

Apprehending his appointment to either of the varsities, Karnataka State Universities and Colleges Backward Classes and Minorities Teachers' Association, Mysuru, has written to Siddaramaiah, Law Minister T B Jayachandra and the Governor, appealing that his candidature be rejected.

Academician and former Bangalore University vice chancellor Prof M S Thimmappa said it was shocking that the government had on one hand appointed Prasad as the search committee chairperson, and is considering Prof Basavaraju's candidature on the other.

"Both of them have been convicted and indicted. Instead of taking action action against Prasad, the government has appointed him as the committee chairperson. Now, he gets to select the candidate for the VC post. Prof Basavaraju should not be considered for the post," he added.

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