Jaipur, Jan 8 : Rajasthan University Vice-Chancellor J P Singhal resigned today, sensing trouble after Rajasthan High Court’s scathing observations regarding his appointment recently.The court had set the date of the case’s next hearing on Jan 9 i.e tomorrow.
On January 3, the Rajasthan High Court’s double bench comprising Justice K S Jhaveri and Vineet Kumar Mathur had said someone who does not have qualifications to become a professor, has no right to remain a Vice-Chancellor (VC) for even 24 hours. The bench had maintained that it was unfortunate that such a man has been made VC and that the University and the government was taking his side.
These observations came during a hearing of a PIL filed by retired IAS Satyanarayan Singh and Justice (retd) I S Israni, educationist Manekchand Khandela and former Rajasthan University professor K L Sharma. The bench is set to resume hearing the case tomorrow and pronounce its verdict.
Singhal, 68 then, was appointed as VC of Rajasthan University on July 31, 2015 on the recommendations of the state government’s selection committee for a term of three years or 70 years, which ever occurred earlier.
His appointment then had caused a hue and cry with the Opposition Congress and teacher bodies saying Singhal did not possess the requisite qualifications needed for getting appointed at the University’s top post. They said he was not a PhD holder and did not have the 10 years teaching experience as a professor, the norms set by the University Grants Commission.
Most of his critics said his links with the RSS helped him get the VC’s post. The doctorate before was his name was mistakenly added in the communique issued by the Governor during his appointment. Singhal himself admitted he was not a doctorate and it was an error.
The University and the government, however, maintained that the search committee – which had members from higher education regulator UGC, the varsity’s Syndicate, its top decision-making body and the state government and the governor’s nominee – had “researched all dimensions” before appointing the new VC and his “credentials were above board”.
Singhal is actually neither a PhD holder nor does he have the requisite 10 years teaching experience as a professor, as per the guidelines of UGC for appointment of VC. The petitioners had strong objections to his appointment on the basis of his qualifications. The petitioners say the PIL filed in 2015 itself had stretched on as the government delayed replies in the court.
Singhal’s critics said he was chosen as he was the general secretary of the Sangh-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh. He was also the government’s representative of the Syndicate, the highest decision making body of the University.
Earlier Singhal could remain principal of the private Agarwal College for only one and half months as reportedly he was unable to handle the pressure. He has been the dean of Business Administration department in that college.
After Rajasthan High Court’s criticism on Jan 3, rumours about his resignation were rife as the government seemed to be in a fix. His resignation means a loss of face for the ruling BJP in the state.
Singhal chose to resign on the 71st foundation day of the Rajasthan University after the function got over. Singhal was due to retire in March, 2017. RU is one of the oldest Universities of the state and was set up on Jan 8, 1947 as Univeristy of Rajputana and got its present name in 1956.