Gujarat Vidyapith appoints ex-registrar as VC yet again

Gandhi-founded Gujarat Vidyapith appoints controversial ex-registrar as vice-chancellor yet again

Khimani's earlier appointment had been revoked following the UGC's objection for not following due procedure

A view of the Gujarat Vidyapith campus. Credit: YouTube/Gujarat Vidyapith

In a controversial move, Mahatma Gandhi founded Gujarat Vidyapith, a deemed university, on Tuesday appointed its former registrar and current honorary director Rajendra Khimani as its next vice-chancellor.

Khimani's earlier appointment had been revoked following the University Grants Commission's (UGC) objection for not following due procedure. As a result of this, the varsity was forced to begin the process afresh.

The appointment for the second time comes despite the fact that one of the three members of the search committee had objected to Khimani's candidature. "I had given my dissent on two counts - he was a registrar, which is not equivalent to a professor and the other reason was that he (Khimani) is facing vigilance inquiry," a source told DH. The source added, "At least the varsity should have waited for the inquiry to be over."

Soon after a trustees' meet at around 3 PM, where chancellor Ela Bhatt, also the founder of Self Employed Women's Association or SEWA) announced Khimani's name, the varsity officials issued a notification, appointing Khimani as the vice-chancellor to be effective from today (June 29) itself.

The notification reads, "It is to be notified that chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith has appointed Dr Rajendra Amulakhbhai Khimani as Vice-Chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith." It adds that "...Khimani has resumed his duties w.e.f (with effect from) 29/06/2021." The quick decision has come as a surprise to many who have been closely following the developments in this Gandhian institute. Sources said that Khimani's appointment may be challenged in the court.

Earlier in December, days after the varsity announced Khimani's name as vice-chancellor, the UGC objected, stating that as procedure the search committee didn't have any representation from the commission. The varsity protested but was forced to revoke the entire exercise and sought applications afresh for appointment of the vice-chancellor.

The 100 years old varsity, situated close to Sabarmati Ashram, is one of the key institutes Gandhi founded in his early years in Ahmedabad. The varsity is also having a long standing tussle with the UGC over the issue of autonomy and rules that a 100 per cent UGC-funded institution is supposed to follow.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox