Legal notice stirs up row over appointment of national sports university VC

The ‘legal notice’ states that the appointment of RC Mishra, a retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) was against UGC recruitment rules and alleged that it even violated eligibility criteria for the post of the NSU VC which was notified by the ministry on at least two counts.

The ‘legal notice’ served on the Union ministries of Human Resource Development, Youth Affairs and Sports, and the University Grants Commission (UGC) has stirred up a controversy over the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the National Sports University (NSU), Manipur.

The ‘legal notice’ which was forwarded to the ministries and the UGC by one Amaresh Kumar states that the appointment of RC Mishra, a retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) through an order issued by Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports was against UGC recruitment rules and had alleged that it had even violated eligibility criteria for the post of the NSU VC which was notified by the ministry on at least two counts.

Amresh Kumar sent the legal notice to the ministries on April 28 against the appointment of RC Mishra as VC of NSU alleging that Mishra does not have requisite qualification and experience to become a VC as per the UGC norms and the advertisement of the post.

An observer and an activist on condition of anonymity told the Imphal Free Press that the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and the chief minister of Manipur, in particular need a relook into the appointment of the VC because an upcoming and promising University like NSU needs “a dynamic, qualified and efficient person as Vice-Chancellor”. He opined that the lack of concern of the government of Manipur in the development of the NSU and indifference to continuous monitoring by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, may be responsible for the present state of affairs of the university.

As per the advertisement annexure of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, the VC should have and outstanding academic record throughout and a minimum of 10-year experience as professor in a university system or in equivalent position in a reputed research and/or academic/administrative organization and that he should be below 65 years of age as on the closing date of the receipt of application. According to the ‘legal notice’, Mishra does not have both the experience.

Moreover, the appointment of RC Mishra was confirmed by an office memorandum dated October 15, 2019 and in the same memorandum it was mentioned that the VC was to join the NSU within seven days of the issue of the appointment order via the memorandum. However, according to another office order issued by the Ministry of Youth affairs and Sports dated November 1, 2019, the VC has already joined the NSU with effect from October 16, 2019, just a day after the appointment order.

The observer disclosed and alleged that most of the time, Mishra functioned from his residence in New Delhi and in six months of his joining, he was available at his office in Imphal for less than one month. He left for Delhi last on February 18, 2020 and “no one is sure about when he is coming back to Imphal”.

The first six months with RC Mishra as VC of NSU has been a complete failure, he alleged and pointed out that both the VC and Registrar of NSU have failed to constitute the mandatory authorities of any university such as (a) the Court, (b) the Executive Council, (c) the Academic and Activity Council and (d) the Board of Sports Studies, etc. As per UGC guidelines, University cannot function without these authorities, the observed disclosed.

The first batch of Bachelor of Physical Education and Sports (BPES) is supposed to give their final semester examination in December 2020. However, till date, Controller of Examination, NSU has not been appointed. So far, no regular faculty members and non-academic staff have been appointed leading to frustration among the faculty members thereby leaving the University in between and affecting students and their career, said the observer. 

It may be mentioned that Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the NSU on a proposed 325 acre campus at Imphal West, on March 16, 2018 in the presence of Najma Heptulla, Governor of Manipur; State chief minister N Biren Singh and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Youth Affairs & Sports. Since its inception in October 2017, National Sports University has been functioning from its temporary campus at the Khuman Lampak Sports Complex in Imphal. It is the first, and as of today the only central university in India focusing on sports education. However, the original campus remains a non-starter except for some ground work for a hostel for reasons known only to the sports ministry.

NSU is supposed to function as the national training centre for selected sports disciplines by adopting the best international practices by signing Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with international universities. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has already signed MoUs with the Universities of Canberra and Victoria in April 2017. However, the fact remains that the NSU presently is functioning just like a “private tuition centre with a few inexperienced teachers”, alleged the observer. Formal academic session of the NSU was started from the academic year 2017-18. Presently, the following undergraduate and postgraduate courses are being run in name sake only.

First Published:June 25, 2020, 9:11 a.m.