HRD Ministry sends Visva Bharati VC file again to President

The HRD Ministry has again sent the file recommending dismissal of Visva Bharati Vice Chancellor Sushanta Dattagupta to President Pranab Mukherjee after the Law Ministry and Attorney General backed its view in the matter.

PTI| Last Updated: Feb 10, 2016, 12:53 PM IST

New Delhi: The HRD Ministry has again sent the file recommending dismissal of Visva Bharati Vice Chancellor Sushanta Dattagupta to President Pranab Mukherjee after the Law Ministry and Attorney General backed its view in the matter.

The President's office had in November last year sent back the file pertaining to Dattagupta asking whether denying the VC a "hearing in person" on allegations levelled against him was legally tenable, it is learnt.

The file pertaining to Visva Bharati VC has been forwarded to the President again, according to HRD Ministry official.

 

The Law Ministry has opined that the procedures followed were "legally tenable".

The Law Ministry's view has paved the way for the HRD Ministry to again recommend to the President, Visitor of central universities, the sacking of the Vice Chancellor who is facing allegations of financial and administrative irregularities.

HRD Minister Smriti Irani had also met the President last week. The meeting was held in the backdrop of reports that the President and HRD minister have differed on certain matters including on the choice of candidate for JNU VC and in the course of action to be adopted in the case of Dattagupta.

Earlier, it was after the President office raised certain queries that the ministry had sought the opinion of the Law Ministry.

"The view of the Law Ministry has conveyed to the HRD ministry that the proposal is legally tenable. The Law ministry has suggested that the HRD ministry can, for a fresh look, seek the opinion of the Attorney General," a senior official said.

Sources said the HRD ministry had sent a copy of a draft notification to the Law ministry which was examined.

Charges against Duttagupta include drawing salary from Visva Bharati and pension from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) simultaneously in alleged violation of the law. Under the law, he was required to have got his pension amount deducted from the pay he received from Visva Bharati.

Besides this, Duttagupta was charged with making irregular appointments, including that of the Controller of Examinations despite having no powers, and sanctioning key posts in violation of the Visva Bharati Act.

Dattagupta, who was appointed in 2011, has over one year of his tenure left. He had also challenged the legality of the ministry's fact-finding committee but his petition was dismissed by the Calcutta High Court.

If his dismissal is ordered, it will be for the first that a Vice Chancellor is sacked by the President.