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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Omar Govt indecisive on IUST VC’s appointment
Mufti’s blue-eyed boy continuing by default since Sep 22, 2008


SRINAGAR, Jan 10: Even as the State Finance Commission Chairman, Mehmood-ur-Rehman, has completed his second post-retirement assignment in Jammu & Kashmir and his first ever report is now understood to be in the final stage, recommendations of a search committee previously headed by the former IAS officer are gathering dust in the Civil Secretariat for the last 16 months. Paradoxically, the beneficiary of Omar Abdullah government’s indecisiveness over the appointment of a new Vice Chancellor for Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) is none other than a man for whom the PDP patriarch Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was bent upon subverting the law even after his exit from the top office.

Prof Sidique Wahid’s three-year term as the first VC of IUST Awantipore had expired during Governor’s rule on 22nd September, 2008. It could have been extended by two years under the provisions of law but neither Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad nor his successor head of the government, N N Vohra, granted any extension in view of a hostile atmosphere to such proposals in the faculty as well as the student community on the campus.

Days before Prof Wahid’s date of retirement, Governor Vohra, in his capacity as head of the Government (who happens to be the Chancellor and appointing authority for VC) constituted a search committee for appointment of the new incumbent. The search committee, under the Act, comprises four members----one each nominee of Chancellor and University Grants Commission (UGC) and two more to be nominated by IUST’s Executive Council. Founder of IUST, Mufti had reportedly played a key role in Governor’s rule in one particular nomination of the University’s Executive Council, known for his intimate relationship with the PDP patriarch.

In November, 2008, search committee headed by Mr Rehman submitted to the Chancellor a panel of four candidates. Those recommended for the coveted position included former Head of PG Department of Economics and Dean Faculty of Social Sciences at University of Kashmir, Prof Nisar Ali, then Chairman of J&K State Board of School Education and Professor of Law at University of Jammu, Prof Nisar Ahmed Ganai, then Director of Computer Science at KU, Dr Mushtaq Ahmed Pir and a Professor of Jamia Millia Islamia.

Even as the search committee finalized four nominees under Section 2 (clause 1) of the Act, the fourth member recorded his recommendation in favour of his own nominee and a Mufti favourite, Sidique Wahid, whose term had expired on 22nd September 2008 and had not been granted extension by the competent authority.

According to section 2 (clause 4) of the Act “The Vice Chancellor shall hold office for a minimum of three years, extendable upto five years from the date on which he enters upon the office and shall, on expiration of his term of office, be ineligible for appointment to that office”.

Ineligible for a second term by the law governing appointment of VC for IUST, Prof Wahid has now overstayed for nearly 16 months. In Chancellor Omar Abdullah’s government, he has been waiting for his reliever since 5th January 2009. It appears that custodians of the Muslim Auqaf have no time for taking such decisions!


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