Early Times Report
Jammu, Feb 18: At a time when the government is making strenuous efforts to address the mounting development deficit in Jammu and Kashmir, there are at present nine universities in the erstwhile state sans any chancellor.
As it was the state Governor who used to act as a Chancellor of the varsities in Jammu and Kashmir, post the creation of Union territory on October 31, last year when the post of Governor was abolished in toto, the nine universities functional in JK are headless at present. Such a development as per the sources privy to this is adversely impacting the normal functioning of these premier higher education institutes of the erstwhile state. The policy matters, including promotions, recruitment of Teaching Staff, academics, research, besides other major decisions are in limbo in absence of the Chancellors.
In October 2018, amendments were made by the government to laws governing universities and enabled the Governor to function as chancellor of universities in absence of a chief minister.
The Governor at that time was made the chancellor of Islamic University of Science & Technology, Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University and Cluster Universities at Srinagar and Jammu whenever the state is under Governor’s or the President’s rule.
Pertinent to mention that Governor of a state is the chancellor of all universities in his state. All executive functions of the state are conducted in the Governor’s name. While he is generally a titular head of and non resident in the university, the Vice Chancellor appointed by him will be the de facto administrator in the university.
On August 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir became a union territory with legislature and Ladakh became a union territory without a legislature, which meant J&K and Ladakh will now have separate Lieutenant Governors. At that time, Satya Pal Malik was the Governor of the unified state of Jammu and Kashmir, which includes Ladakh.
As per the laid down procedure UTs do not have their own governments, they are ruled directly by the central government through lieutenant governor as the administrator. He is appointed by the Central government and is also a representative of the President of India.
On October 25, last year, Girish Chandra Murmu, the Union Expenditure Secretary, was appointed as the first Lieutenant-Governor of Jammu and Kashmir and Former Defence Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur was appointedas Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh.
As per the reports, with the appointment of Lt Governor in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir,there has been no decision taken over whether LG will hold the position of Chancellor in the nine functional universities of Jammu and Kashmir.
With such a vital decision in limbo, the functioning of the knowledge centres is severely getting hit.
What remains to be seen is whether the government will make it as its priority to address the issue or leave it in cold storage with no concern at all.