SRINAGAR: The Kashmir University is virtually headless from past 10 months. It is for the first time in the history of this highest learning of seat that Search Committee took such a long time in nominating a Vice Chancellor and if reliable sources are to be believed, this Committee is eager to appoint a blue-eyed candidate as new Vice Chancellor of this picturesque Varsity.
The tenure of the Vice Chancellor University of Kashmir Prof. Khurshid Iqbal Andrabi, expired in the month of October, 2017. Consequently the search committee headed by Prof. Aggarwal former Chairman UPSC, New Delhi and Prof. Syed Ahtisham Hasnain and Prof. Vijay Gupta as its members was constituted. The University issued an advertisement inviting applications for appointment of Vice Chancellor, UoK vide No. F(APPOINTMENT VC)REG/KU/18; Dated 27-02-2018.
“62 candidates applied for the position of VC for University of Kashmir in response to this advertisement. The Search Committee after scrutinizing the details of the applicants/candidates, shortlisted 12 candidates for interaction. Surprisingly all the shortlisted candidates were from outside the State with only one local junior demy candidate.. No one from the senior regular Professors having lot of teaching, research and administrative experience were shortlisted. Although they were amongst the shortlisted candidates for the post of Vice Chancellor in Kashmir University, BGSB and IUST earlier in 2014, and 2015 like Prof. Mustafa Shah, Prof. Neelofar Khan, Prof. A. M. Shah and many others.”
“The interaction-cum-presentation was held at Jamia Hamdard University in New Delhi on April 15 and 16, 2018. However, the search committee found none of the shortlisted candidates suitable for the Vice Chancellor, UoK.” Ironically the University re-advertised the said post vide No. Advt. No. F(ADVERTISEMENT-VC)/REG/KU/18; Dated 30-04-2018 with the revised age bar of 65 years.
“In response to the re-advertisement, 42 candidates applied for the post afresh. After evaluating the academic/administrative details of the candidates, the search committee shortlisted 08 candidates for the presentation-cum-interaction which was held again at Jamia Hamdard University in New Delhi on 09-07-2018.” Reliable sources told news agency CNS that 08 shortlisted candidates included both local as well as non local candidates which included Prof. Talat Ahmad, Prof. Sher Ali, Prof. Syed Zaheer Hussain Jaferi, Dr. Shahid Rasool, Prof. N.A. Nadeem, Prof. Mushtaq Ahmad Kaw and Prof. Ali Mohd. Shah. Prof. Ehtsham Hassnain one of the Search Committee Members has played an active role in short listing of the three candidates from outside the State for the post of VC KU.
“The list of the 08 shortlisted candidates, the venue and date of interaction were published on July 2 this year. However, at the eleventh hour, the names of two senior most professors Prof. N.A. Nadeem and Prof. A.M. Shah were dropped from the list for reasons better known to the search committee. “The academia in the valley believes that the exclusion of the two senior most professors from the shortlisted panel is a deliberate attempt to install blue eyed candidate as the Vice Chancellor for the UoK.”
Highly placed sources said that the entire process of selection of V.C from the very first advertisement to the second interaction, seems to be doubtful. “For the first time in the history of University of Kashmir, the candidates applying for the post of V.C were supposed to submit affidavit/undertaking duly attested by the first class judicial magistrate highlighting that no case is pending against the applicant in the court of law/in any other department for any applicant. However, after receiving strong resentment from the academia, the said condition was slightly modified.”
“Out of 65 candidates who applied in response to the first advertisement, 12 were shortlisted and after the interaction with the search committee on April 15 and 16, 2018, no candidate was found suitable for the post by the Search Committee.” “In the second advertisement, the same committee was constituted for short listing the candidates for the post.”
“Violating all the established standards and norms, the search committee in the last minute included 02 candidates were included (who were already found not suitable in the first interaction held on April 15-16, 2018) among the eight shortlisted candidates for the interaction scheduled on 09-07-2018 at Jamia Hamdard University, New Delhi dropping two prominent and senior most professor Prof. N.A. Nadeem and Prof. A.M. Shah,” said a senior Professor to CNS.
Sources said that with a sole intention to install a blue eyed candidate, the search committee shortlisted two candidates who are short of sufficient 10 years of experience as Professor. This is not only a deliberate effort to install a blue eyed candidate but a way to keep away the meritorious, competent and dedicated candidates. The entire academia from the valley of Kashmir were left high and dry against this gross violation in which the search committee has deliberately shortlisted those candidates who are short of experience and otherwise ineligible for the post.
Pertinently, the present Chancellor of the University of Kashmir, is himself on three months extension. As per the established conventions and ethical standards governing the operation of the universities, usually no policy matter decision is taken three months before the completion of tenure.
As per the provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Universities Act, 1968, amended 2015, the Chancellor in consultation with the Pro-Chancellor has to make the appointment of the Vice Chancellor of the Universities covered under the said Act. In this case, there is no Pro Chancellor (Chief Minister) in place as on date so the Chancellor who is leaving the office shortly cannot take the policy decision without consultation with the Pro-Chancellor.
A senior University Professor said that everything seems to be fishy. “It is high time that a new Search Committee be constituted and the process of appointments of the vice chancellors for the universities of Kashmir and Jammu be put on hold till the Pro Chancellor resumes his/her office in the State.