BHUBANESWAR: A group of former Vice Chancellors and Professors of Utkal University met with Odisha Governor and Universities Chancellor Prof. Ganeshi Lal on Friday seeking his intervention for the withdrawal of the controversial 2020 on Odisha Universities (Amendment) and Restoring Universities Autonomy. .
Stating that the very purpose of universities is to pursue higher education and research independently, they said autonomy is the strength of universities across the world. The government should respect this and promote the independence of universities in the interest of higher education and research, they said.
In a memorandum submitted to the governor, the educators said that the national education policy calls for non-interference of the government in the affairs of the universities, but disregarding this, the government of Odisha has proceeded with the development of the Odisha Universities (Amendment) Act 2020 by repealing the Odisha Universities Act 1989 and violating the guidelines of the University Grants Commission (UGC).
They said that while the government was concerned about possible corruption and lack of transparency in the recruitment and general running of some universities, there was a clear provision in the Odisha Universities Act 1989 to resume temporarily wandering universities and put things in order.
Referring to the Supreme Court’s suspension order of the amended law for a period of three months, they urged the Chancellor of Universities to stop the state government from moving forward with the implementation of the new law. Former Utkal University VC Binayak Rath and former philosophy professor Prafulla Mohapatra were part of the eight-member delegation.
The Supreme Court had suspended the law on May 20 while hearing a petition filed by Ajit Kumar Mohanty, a retired professor from Jawaharlal Nehru University, challenging the Odisha High Court judgment upholding the validity of the law. A separate petition was filed by the UGC against the Orissa High Court order on the grounds that the state law conflicted with its regulations. UGC regulations govern the minimum qualification of teachers, the method of appointment of vice-chancellors, and other conditions of service for teaching and non-teaching staff.