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Mainstream, VOL LIV No 39 New Delhi September 17, 2016

All Power—No Accountability

Sunday 18 September 2016

COMMUNICATION

We are rightly proud of the fact that our country is the largest parliamentary democracy of the world, and it is our duty to strengthen and preserve it which is possible only when all countrymen swear by it and follow its norms. Accountability is its soul. How strange and shocking is that in the temples of highest learning and knowledge, that is, the Indian Universities, there is no tinge of democracy. Its heads, that is, Vice-Chancellors of the Indian Universities are acting like despotic monarchs. There is no provision in any of the Indian Universities Act for the removal or impeachment of the Vice-Chancellor if he or she misuses his or her powers or contravenes the provisions of the University Act and statutes while the holder of the highest office of the country, that is, the President of the Indian Union, can be impeached if he or she misuses his or her power, judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts can be impeached while Ministers of both the Central and State governments are accountable to legislatures for all their actions and policies.

One American Vice-Chancellor had once remarked that the prerequisite qualifications of the Vice-Chancellor were that he should have Solomon’s wisdom, lion’s courage, Machiavelli’s cunningness and goat’s stomach. Most of the Indian Vice-Chancellors are experts in Machiavelli’s cunningness and possess the quality of having goat’s stomach. The UGC, which is the supervisory body of Universities, and the HRD Ministry, which controls all Universities, act like helpless spectators.

The need of the hour is that the existing University Acts of both Central and State Universities should be amended and a new provision be added for the removal of the VC if he or she contravenes the provisions of the University Act. It is hoped that the new HRD Minister will do it.

Dr M. Hashim Kidwai (Ex-Member of Parliament)
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