Aligarh: The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is likely to face a constitutional problem in the coming few weeks when the process of selecting a new Vice Chancellor begins.
According to well-placed AMU sources, the problem stems from the fact that under a singular provision of the AMU constitution, it is the incumbent Vice Chancellor, who plays a pivotal role in the selection of his own successor.
Unlike other universities, there is no search committee for appointing the Vice Chancellor as it is the Vice Chancellor himself, who presides over an electoral mechanism for voting for his successor.
The post of the present Vice Chancellor Professor P. K. Abdul Aziz ends four months from now.
In a letter to the university on August 10, the HRD Ministry has asked, the Registrar to hold a special meeting of the Executive council for electing a panel of five names from, which the new Vice Chancellor will be appointed.
A senior University official, requesting anonymity, said there are 28 members in the Executive Council and at the moment 13 seats are vacant. We are not sure whether, we are supposed to prepare a panel of names through this truncated Council or whether, we are empowered to fill in the vacancies before calling a meeting of the Council.
According to senior journalist and prominent alumni of AMU, Qurban Ali, the crunch this time lies in the fact that the present Vice Chancellor is under investigation over alleged financial irregularities not just by CBI but also by CVC and CAG.
CBI is expected to submit its preliminary report to the Visitor of AMU, the President of India, within the next few weeks, according to University sources.
Qurban Ali told newsperson today that instead of causing a constitutional crisis, Professor Azis should either resign or go on long leave till the inquiry is complete.
In the meantime, an acting Vice Chancellor, in this case the senior most Dean, will preside over the selection process of a new Vice Chancellor, he suggested.
Qurban Ali and some other prominent alumni in New Delhi have launched a move for major structural changes in the selection process of the Vice Chancellor and reforms aimed at curbing the unbridled power enjoyed by the AMU Vice Chancellor under Section 19 (3) of the AMU Act.
In a letter to the President of India, Qurban Ali pointed out that it is a situation unprecedented in the annals of this University. Any delay in resolving the crisis would only worsen the situation".
The executive committee of the AMU Teachers Association (AMUTA) held a meeting on August 16 and passed a resolution stating it will be unethical and immoral to allow Professor Azis to play a central role in selecting his successor, when he himself is facing charges of serious financial irregularities during his tenure.
On the other hand, a section of teachers criticized the HRD Ministry for curbing the powers of the Vice Chancellor through a missive earlier this month.
Ten senior teachers and former teachers of AMU led by well known historian Professor Irfan Habib have criticized the HRD Ministry for issuing an order restraining against the Vice Chancellor from taking policy decisions, making appointments and giving promotions.
A section of teachers supporting the Vice Chancellor are also holding protests in the campus.
In a strong response to this, Secretary of AMUTA Mustafa Zaidi said, no individual is above the law of the land. Vice Chancellor Azis is facing three high-level probes and propriety demands that, when the top executive is being probed, he should be asked to vacate his post".
Zaidi said the HRD Ministry order of August 10 does not bar any routine work pertaining to the normal functioning of the university, it has only blocked matters pertaining to long term decisions and senior-level appointments.
For more than four years now, more than two hundred posts of teachers were kept vacant.