The university has been on a boil since several months. (Representational)
The Manipur High Court on Thursday suspended the acting vice-chancellor and registrar of Manipur University and appointed a new administrator in an effort to bring normalcy to the varsity, which has been on the boil since May 30.
Former state chief secretary Jarnail Singh has been appointed as the administrator who will discharge the duties of vice-chancellor (VC) as per the provisions of the Manipur University Act 2005.
K Yugindro Singh is the acting vice-chancellor and Shyamkesho the acting registrar suspended.
A bench comprising justices N Kotishwar Singh and Kh Nobin Singh in its order said the appointment of Yugindro Singh shall remain suspended.
Yugindro Singh was appointed as the acting VC by the then VC A P Pandey, who was suspended by President Ram Nath Kovind last month.
Thursday’s development came after the high court, in its earlier hearing on October 5, urged all the respondents to suggest ways to resolve the crisis in the university in the interest of the students.
Since none of the respondents made any suggestions, the court said it was “compelled to intervene in the matter”.
It also felt that the threat of counter-agitation loomed large if a solution to the problem was not found soon.
The court made it clear that it was primarily concerned with bringing normalcy to the university and not the issue of who was responsible for bringing the university to the present “disturbed state” of condition.
The court empowered Jarnail Singh to choose the acting registrar and appoint others to assist him while discharging his duties which include passing or revoking of any orders to bring normalcy in the university and defuse the volatile situation.
No classes have been held in the university since May 30.
The agitators have been demanding the removal of the VC for alleged administrative and financial lapses.
President Kovind, who is the visitor to the central university, had last month placed Pandey under suspension as an inquiry was underway into the allegations of irregularities against him.
Two separate PILs were admitted by the high court on October 1 and considering that the content and the nature of the PILs were closely related, it sought for immediate normalisation of the university.
The court also said that the visitor of the university/Union respondents will ensure that the suspension of Pandey since September 17 is continued and not revoked during the continuation of the office of the court appointed administrator until normalcy returned to the university.
Acknowledging that the situation in the university is out of control with many students, teachers and staff under custody, the court said that the impasse has been characterised by unusually prolonged disturbances marked with violence and the problem has become serious.
The court observed that normally, the management comes within the purview of the university where the role of the court ought to be minimal but there may be extraordinary situations which may call for certain role to be played by the court.
The court further specified that the state government also “intimated” about the violent clash of the students with the police, arson of sports office, 48-hour bandh, shutdown in the hill districts, destruction of public properties.
The university impasse began on May 30 after Manipur University Students’ Union (MUSU) took up agitation against Pandey and was later supported by Manipur University Teachers Association (MUTA) and Manipur University Staffs Association (MUSA).
The 85-day-long agitation was, however, suspended after an agreement was reached among the Union HRD ministry, the state government and the university on August 16 and normalcy had returned for a while. However, it was cut short
after Pandey on October 1, assumed office and banned MUTA and MUSA, aggravating the situation once again.
On September 21, when Yugindro Singh went to the university, he was allegedly gheraoed by students and teachers who allegedly forced him to sign a letter. Following this, he lodged an FIR with the police.
The police conducted a midnight raid on September 21 during which 89 students and teachers were arrested. Fifteen of them are still behind bars and the agitators have been demanding their release.
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