Student representatives of the National University of Study and Research in Law (NUSRL), Ranchi have sent a letter raising serious allegations of corruption, lack of transparency and overall maladministration in the University to the Chief Justice of India, who is also Rector to the University.
Earlier this year, the student body had put up a united front in a three day strike on similar grounds. This was after revelations made by erstwhile Vice-Chancellor Prof BC Nirmal that the University may be dragged into an arbitration battle over non-payment of dues to the tune of over Rs 42 crores.
Students had registered strong protest calling for, inter alia, the ouster of the Vice-Chancellor, a regular auditing mechanism for the University, review mechanisms for greater transparency and flow of funds from the state government for the development of the University.
The protest was suspended after assurances were received from judges of the Jharkhand High Court as well as then Director of the Judicial Academy, Gautam Chaudhary, that measures would be taken to resolve the issues raised.
As part of the resolution process, Prof Nirmal was removed from his position. In his place, Chaudhary currently occupies the position of acting Vice-Chancellor. The student body had, however, intimated at the time that protests would be resumed if long term changes were not implemented within three months.
Four months later, students have been constrained to raise their voices once again, provoked apparently by the continuing apathy of the college administration in the face of various issues plaguing the welfare of the University.
In a note reportedly drafted by the students, it has been pointed out that, as opposed to a promised overhaul of administration, the acting VC has merely reshuffled administrative posts “according to his whims and fancies which defies the purpose of entire exercise.”
The note outlines several contentious allegations. These include ineligibility of administrative leadership, partiality in administrative decisions and demands for unlawful additional fees from PhD students. Protest has also been registered against claims of inadequate faculty, inefficient conduct of classes, lack of initiative in ensuring academic material as well as inadequate medical and mess facilities.
Apart from being ineligible to occupy the post, acting VC Chaudhary has been accused of attempting to initiate the selection process for regular faculty appointments. This, it has been pointed out, is impermissible given that the University statute requires a regular Vice-Chancellor to be part of the selection committee.
It is alleged that incumbent Assistant Registrar Dr MRS Murthy falls short of the academic standards required for his post. Similar criticism has been made with reference to allegations of undue assumption of administrative powers by faculty member, Dr K Shyamala. It has also been alleged, inter alia, that these persons are drawing salaries in excess of the UGC pay scale norms.
The note highlights that the status of infrastructure development, library, mess and medical facilities continues to reflect a sorry state of affairs. This is despite the fact that NUSRL currently demands the highest fees among national law universities in the country. More worryingly, the students have also pointed out that the University is yet to clarify whether its affiliation to the Bar Council of India has been renewed.
On these grounds, demands have been made for the appointment of a qualified regular Vice-Chancellor, effective administrative overhaul, verification of academic credentials of each faculty, and for University audits to be conducted by the CAG.
Speaking to Bar & Bench, Dr Murthy has asserted that the management is doing the needful to develop infrastructure and appoint quality faculty. He expressed anguish in unverified claims being published and in such action being resorted to rather than students consulting with the management. He has contended that such action only defeats the interests of the University. He declined to comment further, opining, “this is not the right time to comment… let it go, whatever is going on [sic]”.
Read note below.