Students of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) Bangalore held a protest today on campus against the administration’s delay in appointing Prof Sudhir Krishnaswamy as the new Vice-Chancellor.
The student body at NLSIU resolved to sit in protest outside Registrar Prof OV Nandimath’s office from 9 am today.
The latest protest takes place in light of unconfirmed information that the composition of the Executive Council at NLSIU is likely to be changed.
Under the NLSIU Act, the Executive Council is empowered to appoint the Vice-Chancellor and other staff at the University.
The current Executive Council (EC) has three sitting Supreme Court judges – Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, and UU Lalit – as well as former Supreme Court judge, Justice Gopala Gowda.
Additionally, the EC has seven members of the Bar Council of India (BCI), including Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Apurba Kumar Sharma.
Also on board is a member of the Karnataka Bar Council and two representatives of the state government. Five NLSIU faculty members take up the rest of the positions on the EC.
This is the composition of the EC that had signed off on the appointment of Prof Krishnaswamy as the new Vice-Chancellor, pursuant to the recommendation made by a Committee constituted for this purpose. The Committee was headed by Justice Bobde, and also included the Supreme Court’s Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar, Justice Gopala Gowda, and NLSIU Professor (Dr.) VS Elizabeth.
Sources suggest that in addition to the above mentioned EC composition were three special invitees from the Supreme Court, who had all approved Prof Krishnaswamy as the new VC.
However, it is now feared that the composition of the next EC may be changed so as to include members who will vote against the appointment of Prof Krishnaswamy.
In light of the protests, interim Vice-Chancellor Prof MK Ramesh and Registrar Prof OV Nandimath addressed a gathering of students this afternoon.
During the discussions, it came to light that Prof Nandimath had recused himself from the position of Secretary to the EC, in light of allegations that he was responsible for holding up the appointment of the new VC. However, the University has not accepted the Registrar’s recusal.
The students went on to pose the following questions (paraphrased) to the administration:
Did Prof Nandimath apply for post of VC at any point?
What is the cause for delay in appointment of Prof Krishnaswamy as VC?
Is the delay caused due to Chancellor’s office sitting on the file?
Has the composition of the 89th Executive Council changed?
Why is Prof Nandimath’s recusal as Secretary to the EC not being approved by the University?
How many members of the EC have approved/acknowledged appointment of Krishnaswamy?
Why have technical glitches surrounding the appointment process not been addressed even after 49 days since Krishnaswamy was recommended as the new VC?
If the student body approves the candidate, will the University refuse to consider its opinion as a stakeholder?
In response, Prof Nandimath said that he would give written responses to these questions by tomorrow.
Prof Ramesh also suggested that two student representatives interact with faculty members Prof Babu Matthew and Prof TS Somashekar to hash out the issues, before the General Body Meeting that is scheduled to take place tomorrow afternoon.
In the meanwhile, Prof Ramesh appealed to the students to resume attending classes and to refrain from doing anything that would “tarnish the institution’s reputation” any further.
Recently, NLSIU students registered their protest over the alleged dilatory tactics of the University Registrar in approving the appointment of Prof Krishnaswamy as VC.
The Student Bar Association (SBA) at the University pointed out that the Registrar was one of the 16 applicants vying for the position of Vice-Chancellor, before Prof Sudhir Krishnaswamy was finally chosen for the post. Therefore, the impartiality of Registrar in matters concerning the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor was called into question.
The statement signs off with an appeal to the Executive Council to intervene so that Prof Sudhir Krishnaswamy is appointed as Vice-Chancellor expeditiously.
“The SBA does not have confidence in the present interim administration and pleads with the Executive Council to take note of the state of affairs and promptly appoint Prof. (Dr.) Sudhir Krishnaswamy as the Vice Chancellor, as has already been recommended.“
Image courtesy: SBA Facebook page