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After 7 months, UT admn amends Universities Act

After a seven-month-long administrative inertia to look into the difficulties being faced by the universities in Jammu and Kashmir post the implementation of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act-2019, the UT administration has “amended” the Kashmir and Jammu Universities Act, 1969, to enable the universities to carry out their functioning normally.

Under the new amendment, the order for which was issued on March 2 by the General Administration Department (GAD), the Lieutenant-Governor will now be the Chancellor of the University of Kashmir (KU) and the University of Jammu (JU). Earlier, the Governor in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was the Chancellor of the JU and the KU. He had the mandate to take and approve all major policy decisions of the universities. The Governor had the mandate to approve the selections of professors, associate professors and assistant professors on the recommendations of the selection panels.

 

After the reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir, the Kashmir and Jammu Universities Act, 1969, was to be amended with the appointment of the Lieutenant-Governor. What is perplexing is that the “amendment” carried out by the UT administration is silent on the functioning of seven other universities, including the Cluster University of Jammu, Cluster University of Srinagar, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology in Kashmir and Jammu, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, Baba Gulam Shah Badshah University and the Islamic University of Science and Technology.

The GAD order claimed that the “difficulty arising in giving effect to provisions of the Kashmir and Jammu Universities Act, 1969, (Principal Act) has been removed”.

“The amended act will be called the Kashmir and Jammu Universities (removal of difficulties) order-2020. Any reference in the Principal Act to the words ‘Governor’ of J&K shall be construed as the reference to the ‘Lieutenant-Governor of the UT of J&K,” the order said.

On February 27, The Tribune had extensively reported that the selection process for various gazetted posts, including faculty members, in six major universities of Jammu and Kashmir had come to a standstill after the implementation of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act-2019 as the universities were functioning without the Chancellor.

The order, however, is yet to end the uncertainty over the situation as the JU authorities have not received any official communication in this regard.

“We have also heard that an order (to replace the word Governor with Lieutenant-Governor) has been issued but we are yet to receive a copy of it. We can’t rely on the orders being circulated on the social media. If the order is true, then it might be a temporary relief to the universities just to ensure that their functioning won’t be affected anymore. Unfortunately, the administration took almost seven months to clear the air,” said a senior official at the University of Jammu.

Like other universities, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, which was established under the Jammu and Kashmir Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University Act, 1999, has also been facing difficulty in carrying out the selections for various gazetted posts and finalising policy decisions. “We are also facing a similar situation which other universities are facing. Only those decisions which require the consent of the Vice Chancellor are being taken, while we are yet to get any clarity (after the reorganisation of J&K) over the prevailing situation,” said VK Bhat, Registrar of the university.