Bihar: Education Dept refuses to withdraw order on freezing accounts of varsity officials

August 23, 2023
The Bihar Education Department has refused to withdraw its order on freezing the bank accounts of the VC and Pro-VC of Bhimrao Ambedkar Bihar University in Muzaffarpur as directed by the Raj Bhavan.

The department in a letter to the Principal Secretary to the Governor said it cannot allow anarchy to prevail in the universities in the state in the garb of so-called ‘autonomy’.

The Education department on August 17 had stopped the salaries of the vice chancellor and pro-VC for their alleged failure in inspecting educational institutions under their jurisdiction and also for not attending a review meeting convened by the department. The department also ordered the freezing of the accounts of the top officials and the university.

A day later, Robert L Chongthu, Principal Secretary to the Governor, sent a letter to the bank concerned, directing it to defreeze the accounts of the two officials and the university with immediate effect. The Chancellor (Governor) has ordered that “these orders of the Education department may be withdrawn and these types of unwarranted acts may be avoided in future”, said the letter of Chongthu.

However, making it clear that the Education department is ‘unable’ to withdraw its earlier order (dated August 17), Baidyanath Yadav, Secretary (Education department), in a letter dated August 21to Chongthu, said, “You have mentioned in your letter that the department’s recent action is an attack on the autonomy of the university. In this connection, it is requested to kindly also indicate under which section of the Bihar State Universities Act, 1976, the “autonomy” is defined and universities made “autonomous”.

“When the state government provides financial support to the tune of thousands of crores, it cannot allow anarchy to prevail in universities, in the garb of so-called autonomy. Therefore, the department is unable to withdraw its earlier order and is obligated to enforce the provisions of the Act on the universities”, said Yadav in his letter.

A copy of the letter is in possession of PTI.

The Secretary (Education) also wrote, “The state government supports universities to the tune of Rs 4,000 crore annually. Therefore, the department of Education is well within its right to seek accountability from the universities as to how and where the money of the taxpayer is spent. In the instant case, the said university has defaulted in its fundamental obligation to conduct exams and declare results timely. Moreover, the said officers of the university have defaulted in their primary obligation to inspect all colleges, university departments and hostels”.

“You will very kindly agree that the state government is only responsible and answerable not to the taxpayers but to the students and their guardians and, therefore, when any university fails in its primary purpose, the state government is under obligation to intervene, seek for reports and call meetings of the universities”, Yadav wrote.

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