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Chandigarh Region

Sukhbir requests Vice President to direct PU to hold Senate elections immediately

November 11, 2020 05:56 PM

(Also asks the varsity Chancellor to scrap purported moves to replace an elected Senate with a nominated Board of Governors)

Groa Times Service
Chandigarh, November 11
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal today requested Vice President M Venkaih Naidu, who is also Chancellor of Panjab University, to direct its Vice Chancellor to hold immediate elections to its Senate which were due since three months to ensure the democratic ethos of the premier institution was not destroyed.

In a statement here, the SAD President also requested the Vice President to direct the Panjab University authorities to scrap purported moves to replace the elected apex governing body with a nominated Board of Governors. “Overt centralization of powers in the hands of the vice chancellor will not be in the interest of various stakeholders, particularly Punjab, whose 200 Colleges are affiliated with the varsity”.

Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal said the Senate elections were being put off in the name of COVID-19 pandemic for two months after they became due on August 15. He said now however the elections had been put off indefinitely even as other elections including those to the Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) were held recently. “This has lent credence to apprehensions that the University administration wants to scrap the Senate and appoint a nominated Board of Governors. While such a move may suit the authorities, it will harm the larger interests of Punjab. A nominated body will no longer be accountable to the people of the region. It would also not be obliged to further the cause of Punjab and Punjabi studies in the University which elected Senate members have fiercely safeguarded and strengthened”.

The SAD President said the Panjab University had provided academic leadership to the region and had nurtured generations of scholars. He said for all practical purposes the institution had been a State University and the Punjab government had contributed to its budget every year. Its Senate includes members elected and nominated from Punjab.

Mr Badal also told the President that he had received representations from the student bodies including the Students Organization of India (SOI) urging that the democratic nature of the varsity be preserved at all costs. “The PU administration should not be allowed to act unilaterally to deny Punjabis their right to participate in its governance. Already Punjabis feel the University is drifting away from its mandate to promote Punjabi and Sikh Studies. I am confident your intervention will result in a course correction and elections to the Senate will be held at the earliest”, Mr Badal told the Vice President.

The SAD President also informed the President that the varsity was suffering due to lack of governance with the Senate and Syndicate not meeting to discuss on important issues. He said the standing of the University had also gone down during this period with it being unable to hold entrance tests for the 2020-21 session. “Even the admission schedule was delayed, colleges were not provided with proper guidelines and teachers suffered after being forcibly relieved. The revival of democratic institutions in the varsity will help to check this downslide”, he added.

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