In a letter to the Higher Education Department, Governor H R Bhardwaj has proposed that if any criminal action is contemplated by the authorities against former VC J Shashidhar Prasad, it would be illegal since Section 8 of the Karnataka State Universities Act, indicating that the former VC enjoys immunity from being proceeded against. Prasad served as vice-chancellor between October 2003 and October 2007.
The Governor’s letter, which Deccan Herald has accessed, has struck down an earlier government order asking the university authorities to initiate action against Prasad following an indictment by the Justice Rangavittalachar Commission which found that 97 teaching and 151 non-teaching posts were filled and regularised in violation of rules and regulations.
Bhardwaj has told the government that there was no question of initiating any criminal action against Prasad and has directed the Mysore University administration to properly assess the wrong done to those appointed under the reserved category status before redressing the issue.
Faced with the Governor’s letter, the government appears to have taken a U-turn on its June 9 order asking the university to file a criminal case against Prasad.
Referring to the Governor’s observation in a July 14 missive to the university authorities, Higher Education under secretary U B Ulavi wrote: “The provision of Section 8, which deals with discipline, inspections and control, is a ‘self-contained’ rule and does not deal with action against vice-chancellors.”
But Bhardwaj seemingly holds a completely different opinion on these charges and has, therefore, advised the government not to proceed with action that might be illegal. He has gone further to suggest that a proper course of action would be for the present VC to find ways and means to remedy the procedural irregularities in consultation with the government.
When contacted, Vice-Chancellor V G Talawar admitted receiving the higher education department’s letter which, he said, would be placed before the Syndicate on July 21. He indicated that the university might act in line with the Governor.
“We will discuss the matter, have unanimity over the issue and go back to the government for further orders,” he said.