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The Student Bar Association (SBA) of the National Law School of India University of India (NLSIU), Bangalore has registered their protest over the alleged dilatory tactics of the University Registrar to protract the appointment of its next Vice-Chancellor, Prof (Dr) Sudhir Krishnaswamy.
After Vice Chancellor Prof Venkata Rao vacated office upon the end of his second term, the Executive Council of NLSIU eventually approved the name of Prof Krishnaswamy as the next Vice-Chancellor of NLSIU last month. However, as noted in the SBA statement,
“It has now been six weeks since Prof. (Dr.) R. Venkata Rao demitted office. The student body finds the undue delay in the appointment of the new VC, who has already been approved by the Executive Council, unfortunate and worrisome. The ad-hoc manner of functioning witnessed over the last six weeks does not bode well for any institution, much less for a prestigious institution such as NLSIU.“
Further, the SBA has highlighted that the reason for the delay in appointment can be traced to misleading and dilatory communications by the University Registrar.
“We are made to understand that the causes of the delay are the misleading and dilatory nature of communications from the present Registrar of NLSIU, Prof. (Dr.) O.V. Nandimath, who is the Ex-Officio Secretary to the Executive Council (EC). We have reasons to believe that he is needlessly obstructing the appointment of the next Vice-Chancellor. The requests made by the student body for making the communications between him and the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India public have gone unanswered.”
Moreover, the SBA points out that the Registrar had been 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 has been called into question.
“The student body has lost all faith in his ability to act in an impartial manner in this matter. The SBA at its General Body Meeting held on September 8, 2019, resolved to demand that the Registrar should recuse himself from this process owing to his obstructionist behavior and evident conflict of interest, having been one of the 16 applicants for the position of Vice-Chancellor. It is quite inappropriate that one of the applicants for the position has control over the administrative formalities and is patently abusing his existing position as Registrar of NLSIU to delay and possibly derail the appointment process. In these unexpected and extraordinary circumstances, it is only proper that the secretarial functions of the NLSIU Executive Council (EC) are performed by another Professor of the University who has no conflict of interest in this matter.“
Additionally, the SBA has also raised general grievances concerning maladministration at the University, stating,
“The present administration has also been systematically chipping away at the liberties granted to students of NLSIU which have evolved through the efforts of generations of students, faculty members and the previous Vice-Chancellors. The administration has been hostile to all requests made by the students, and has been taking away fundamental freedoms that students have had in residential campuses, like using the Academic Block for holding meetings and discussions after classes. Exorbitant costs have also been imposed for the use of University amenities such as conference venues for the organization of various events, which were previously made available without such rents. It is quite objectionable for a University to charge rent from its own institutionally-recognized student groups when they organise activities such as academic conferences, seminars and job interviews in order to boost the University’s own image and prospects.“
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.“
[Read the SBA Statement]