In a fresh setback for the Union HRD Minister, Smriti Irani, President Pranab Mukherjee has ignored her recommendation while appointing the Vice Chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.
In a clear snub to the HRD minister’s advice, third time in as many months, President Mukherjee appointed Prof Jagadesh Kumar as the new VC for the JNU. Irani had reportedly made recommendation in favour of scientist V S Chauhan to the President.
This comes after the President questioned the legality of the Union HRD ministry’s recommendation on sacking the Visva-Bharati Vice-Chancellor (V-C), Sushanta Dattagupta.
Irani-led HRD ministry had recommended Dattagupta’s removal on grounds of gross misconduct and dereliction of duty in its final report to President Pranab Mukherjee.
Dattagupta, who was appointed by the UPA and has one more year in his term left, was accused of making illegal appointments, drawing pension from Jawaharlal Nehru University along with his salary from Visva-Bharati without getting it deducted from his pay, and getting his liquor bills reimbursed by the varsity.
Rashtrapati Bhavan is believed to have informally conveyed its decision against the sacking of Dattagupta asking Irani’s ministry to accept his resignation, sent on 30 September. But the central government isn’t keen on following this advice as doing so would absolve Dattagupta of all the allegations.
Irani has reportedly begun consulting law ministry for its advice.