Adopted at the Assembly of Teachers at the Administrative Block at 4.00 pm on March 9

This Motion for de-recognition of the Registrar In charge (also referred to as Acting or Officiating Registrar) is moved because Mr. Bhupinder Zutshi is guilty of willfully betraying the University he was supposed to serve in his capacity as the Acting Registrar, and that too when the University was confronting one of its gravest challenges.

The Registrar is an officer of the University who derives his powers only from the Act, Statutes and Ordinances of JNU, which he in turn is duty bound to uphold and which also govern the terms and conditions of the appointment to this position. The Act, Statutes and Ordinances also limit the exercise of the Registrar’s powers to the purpose of advancing the objectives for which the University was created, which are laid out in the First Schedule of the Act, and not for the pursuit of any private agenda. In the short period since 9th February 2016, however, Mr. Bhupinder Zutshi has not once but many times over shown himself to be incapable of remembering this distinction. He has acted in bad faith and not discharged his functions in keeping with the rules of the University read with the First Schedule. This is established by the following reasons:

  1. The Acting Registrar granted permission in writing to the police to enter the campus on 11.02.2016 – a carte blanche which has not been formally withdrawn till date.
  2. The acting registrar has made patently false and irresponsible statements to the media on a number of occasions. In an interview to The Hindu regarding the suspension of 8 students, the Acting Registrar said, ‘an enquiry committee …identified the students as raising anti-India slogans. The students who have been debarred were raising anti-India slogans in the video, and Kanhaiya was also seen in the video raising anti-national slogans’. Given that the Delhi Magisterial probe establishes that at least two of the most controversial videos were clearly “manipulated” and voices were added to them; the Acting Registrar’s statement to the media on Kanhaiya Kumar indicates bias, malice and vindictiveness. This bias is also reflected in the most recent “leak” to the media about the Officiating Registrar’s statement before the Enquiry Committee.
  3. The Acting Registrar played a crucial role in the academic debarring of eight students by providing unauthenticated evidence again based solely on bias, malice and vindictiveness within 24 hours of constitution of the High Level Enquiry Committee (HLEC) by the VC. The committee’s initial findings led to the academic debarment of eight students on evidence not yet authenticated. The decisions were taken within 24 hours of its constitution without a TOR. He then further compounded his act by stating to the media that the videos were authentic even when they were being sent for forensic examination.
  4. The repertoire of the Registrar InCharge acting in bad faith also entails
    1. Undue police interference in academic matters by sending police to a international collaborative conference of the University,
    2. The willful inaction about the incident on the night of 12thFebruary 2016 when teachers and their families were threatened by a mob in a residential area of the University – an incident which violated the academic norms and rules of the University (Amended vide Resolution No.l/EC/26.6.1983 & ResolNo.7.4/EC/28-6-1999).
    3. Doubting publicly the physical attack and threat to life that teachers of the University faced in Patiala House
    4. Authorising surveillance without any due process or justification,
    5. Reported threats to photocopiers inside and around the university

The Acting Registrar also forwarded to the MHRD an ‘interim report’ and authenticated posters as if these posters were evidence of the anti-national character of JNU. In doing this, the Registrar went beyond his powers as a law officer of the University, when read with the JNU Act of 1966. The information passed to the MHRD also included names of at least two faculty members and several students whom the Registrar labeled as anti-national—this is a political category and does not necessarily translate into the law of sedition just because the Acting Registrar feels so. Such vindictive administrative action on part of the Acting Registrar infringes constitutional rights of concerned students and teachers.

Given this role, the Acting Registrar’s post-facto appointment as Nodal Officer of the University to coordinate and reply to Parliamentary Questions for the MHRD is shocking and further reduces the confidence in the University Administration. While the Vice Chancellor as the competent authority can appoint a Registrar as a nodal officer, the said officer must have a substantive position, not an In-charge position, one which has been extended contrary to the rules, procedures and norms of the University. Further, while certain requests from the MHRD may be considered by the Vice Chancellor, with due application of mind, the appointment of a nodal officer, as a directive of the MHRD is a violation of the autonomy of the University.

For the damage that he has inflicted on the University over the last few weeks, the Acting Registrar should have been removed from his office much before today as had been demanded by the JNUTA. His further continuation in office is in violation of Ordinance 52 relating to terms and conditions of service of the Registrar (approved vide Resolution No. 6.5/EC/18.11.2013), which specifies that: The Registrar shall retire on attaining the age of 62 years.Prof Zutshi’s date of birth is 09.03.1954. He would have needed to demit office by today even if he was holding a substantive position, which he is not. Despite this, his term has been extended by the University Administration upto 31 March 2016. Even according to DoPT rules, such an extension should be an exception and taken in public interest only when one of the following two conditions is satisfied: i) that the retiring specialist is not just one of the outstanding officers but is really head and shoulders above the rest; or ii) that other specialists are not ripe enough to take over the job. In cases where the specialist is not considered to have good reputation for integrity and honesty, he should not be considered for extension in service.

Professor Zutshi’s term of appointment as Registrar InCharge going beyond 9 March 2016 would thus be violating rules and procedures of both the Union Government and Jawaharlal Nehru University. This is against the principle of natural justice.

For all these reasons, this house declares that it ceases to recognize the Acting Registrar as an officer of Jawaharlal Nehru University. The house demands that the Vice Chancellor do the same and remove Professor Zutshi immediately from that position and also withdraw the order appointing him as Nodal Officer of the University to reply to Parliamentary Questions for the MHRD.

With these words, this motion to de-recognize Prof.Zutshi as the Acting registrar is placed before this house for its approval.

Comments are closed.