OPEN LETTER TO THE VISITOR BY FORMER OFFICE BEARERS OF ALLAHABAD UNIVERSITY TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION and ALLAHABAD UNIVERSITY CONSTITUENT COLLEGES TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION
The Hon’ble Visitor, University of Allahabad, President’s Secretariat (Rashtrapati Bhawan), New Delhi
On the eve of the 131st Foundation Day of the University of Allahabad, the under-noted former and serving teachers of the University of Allahabad and its Constituent Colleges, who are or have been office-bearers of the Teachers’ Associations of the University and its Constituent Colleges, respectfully seek to invite your kind attention by means of this Open Letter to certain crucial aspects of the present institutional predicament of the University, arising proximately from shocking revelations of grave improprieties by the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Rattan Lal Hangloo, and cumulatively from the general expositions of the manifestly freewheeling mode of his working over the past three years.
The facts of the Vice-Chancellor’s indecorous personal conduct involve the seeking of personal intimate favours from an individual by proffering employment and promising career-building opportunities. This sordid episode, and the outrage it has engendered in the members of the University community (students, alumni, and serving and former teachers and employees) as well as concerned citizens and well-wishers of the institution, are in the public domain, for they have been covered in graphic presentations in the print, electronic and social media. These have also been communicated by different sources to the Hon’ble Visitor’s establishment, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and other agencies of the Government of India. Some of the individuals subscribing to this Open Letter have also conveyed their dismay over the style and substance of his administrative and financial transactions in separate communications to higher authorities, but have experienced a disheartening absence of critical engagement on the part of the concerned dignitaries and offices with the transgressions of Prof. Hangloo which have also been in glaring public spotlight for almost three years, from his earliest days in office.
We do not wish to give credence to widespread speculations on the considerations that have led to the apparent indifference on the part of the ‘regulators’ towards Prof. Hangloo’s trespasses, but would like to merely underscore the grievous institutional costs of this detachment. In fact, the circumstances preceding Prof. Hangloo’s selection and appointment as Vice-Chancellor and the alleged role of certain important personages in the same, as well as the general ambience of lack of accountability on the part of members of selection boards for high offices in the higher education sector that have, in a way, facilitated his egregious record in office.
We need not recount in detail the varieties of infractions of Prof. Hangloo as Vice-Chancellor, as the same are well-documented in the memoranda, representations and other submissions that have been filed with the Hon’ble Visitor and the Department of Higher Education. These must be available in the record. Moreover, the Department of Higher Education (MHRD) has preserved the Report submitted to the Hon’ble Visitor (the President of India) in August 2017 on the basis of review of the work and progress of the University under the stewardship of Prof. Hangloo, which made out a case for a Visitorial Inspection or Inquiry, under section 10(3) of the University of Allahabad Act, 2005. It is not known as to why this Report was not followed upon. Subsequently, in November 2017, the University of Allahabad Audit Committee, constituted by the University Grants Commission and chaired by Professor Gautam R. Desiraju (Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore), for conducting academic, research, financial and infrastructural audit of the University, submitted a highly critical assessment of the working of Prof. Hangloo as Vice-Chancellor, in the following words:
The present incumbent Prof. Hangloo is certainly a bold person, but he is not a leader who is capable of taking everyone along and he has allowed his time to be filled with daily fire fighting of one problem or another. He has proved himself to be a poor manager and has not been able to delegate authority and decentralize his administration. From what the Committee could observe during its brief visit, he is running the University with a small coterie. However, he seems to have lost touch with the rank and file of UA, notably with teachers and students. Management is an all-important but little recognized component of University administration in India. There is no management in UA; just a hopping from one crisis to the next. In such a scenario, there is no room for long range vision.
Nevertheless, the Audit Committee Report too is apparently in cold storage.
The instruments (authoritative Reports, Memoranda, Representations and other Submissions) mentioned above have made out a compelling case for effective remedial action in respect of the unfortunate lapses and malpractices attributed to Prof. Hangloo as Vice-Chancellor. These include the following, without exhausting the list of illegalities:
(i) Large scale manoeuvrings in faculty recruitments and promotions in the university and the Constituent Colleges, especially in the screening / short-listing process, nomination of Experts, verification of academic credentials, presentation or interpretation of essential qualifications (including the definition of ‘good academic record’), assessment of research work and publications, reporting of selection committee recommendations to the Executive Council / Management Committee, and persistent reports of the sale / auction of academic posts.
(ii) Disregard, contravention or violation of statutory provisions and prescribed procedures in academic, administrative, financial and other corporate matters, and fiduciary malpractices. Such wrongdoings have inevitably led to legal challenges, and adverse Orders / Judgments of the Hon’ble High Court in Writ Petitions and Contempt of Court Applications, and the levying of costs/monetary fines or heavy payments to redeem dues. In some leading cases, Learned Benches of the Hon’ble High Court have recorded highly critical personal observations on Prof. Hangloo.
(iii) By-passing of statutory bodies in decision-making, and securing their endorsement in policy and other matters by manipulating their memberships and /or misrepresenting / falsifying facts, rules, criteria, etc. This has rendered the University into an ‘island of insubordination to the Rule of Law’.
(iv) Thinly-veiled or defiant manipulation of results of admission tests and regular University examinations, for extending benefits to favoured candidates.
(v) High-handedness in administrative matters, including unceremonious removal of statutory office-holders or other functionaries, and incumbents holding representative offices, on patently false grounds or by contrived changes in seniority lists and succession criteria, without recourse to due process and principles of natural justice, and without referring the concerned matter to the empowered statutory bodies.
(vi) Personal misbehaviour of Prof. Hangloo towards senior Faculty members in meetings, and his uncouth public humiliation of the faculty and other employees who have been assigned administrative functions or offices by him.
An unfortunate impression has been created that there is some diffidence in the higher decision making circles in respect of applying corrective measures for the grievous academic, institutional, moral and material injury to the University inflicted by Prof. Hangloo. We do not support this reaction, but do believe that the circumstances that have come to the fore in the past few days add urgency to the need for the Hon’ble Visitor’s establishment and the Department of Higher Education (MHRD) to intervene decisively and resolve the long simmering crisis in the University of Allahabad on account of the misguided and destructive commissions and omissions of Prof. Rattan Lal Hangloo.
THIS OPEN LETTER IS BEING CIRCULATED BY:
Former Members / Office-Bearers of ALLAHABAD UNIVERSITY TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION (AUTA)
Prof. R. C Tripathi (Psychology Department): Former Vice-President; Former Member, University Grants Commission
Prof. M. C. Chattopadhyaya (Chemistry Department): Former President
Pof. Ranjana Kakkar (Medieval and Modern History Department): Former President
Prof. Ram Kishore Shastri (Sanskrit): Former President
Prof. G. C Tripathi (Economics): Former President
Prof. U. S. Rai (Economics): Former Vice-President
Prof. V. C. Pande: Former General Secretary
Prof. Arun Kumar Srivastava: Former General Secretary
Former Members / Office-Bearers of ALLAHABAD UNIVERSITY CONSTITUENT COLLEGES TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION (AUCCTA)
Dr Hemlata Srivastava: Former President, CMP College Teachers’ Association
Dr Sunil Sinha: Former Vice-President (AUCCTA)
Dr Dinesh Srivastava, Former Convenor, Economics
Dr Pradip Kumar Verma, Convenor Zoology