Exercising the power vested upon him under the provisions of the Gauhati University Act, 1947, vice-chancellor PJ Handique has ordered provisional withdrawal of the previous notification pending reporting to the Academic Council (AC) and Executive Council (EC) of the university. The AC and EC meetings have been convened on July 10 and 12 respectively.
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“The decision (to provisionally withdraw) is taken in view of the current deadlock because of the discontinuation of the services of the contractual faculty members and representation of the stakeholder organizations and other associations/organisations,” read the notification issued by the GU registrar on Tuesday.
Now all eyes are on the resolutions to be taken by the two powerful committees headed by the vice-chancellor. Nevertheless, the revoking notification issued by the university registrar on Tuesday has further escalated the rift between Handique and chancellor Jagdish Mukhi, who is also the governor of Assam.
Soon after the termination order drew flak from the teachers and students of the varsity, Handique opened up clarifying that the termination order as actually directed by the governor. Handique even told the media that in governor’s view, contractual teachers has degraded the quality of education in the university. On Monday, Handique wrote to chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, seeking his intervention in the matter.
GU sources told TOI that the decision on Tuesday was taken in order to find a way for smooth completion of the online examinations of the University Law College that is scheduled to start this week. Also, in view of the continuing online classes for other courses, the termination notice has been finally put on hold. “There should not be a chaos in the university at this pandemic situation. Already students are facing lots of inconvenience after offline classes and exams were suspended. Termination of the contractual faculty members will almost bring the functioning of several departments to a halt,” said a senior university official.
Final tally of the contractual teachers shows there are 74 teachers under two different categories of contracts with the university and constitute about 20 percent of the total faculty strength of the university. Gauhati University Teachers’ Association (Guta) welcomed the provisional withdrawal of the July 2 order. “We are very much hopeful that the Academic Council and Executive Council will voice for the teachers. The controversial order of terminating the services of the contractual teachers should be fully withdrawn,” Guta general secretary Bikash Gogoi, said.