The State government on Monday introduced a Bill in the Assembly that is set to pave the way for the government takeover of the 84-year-old Annamalai University in Chidambaram.
The university, founded by Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar, has been at the centre of a controversy following allegations of financial irregularities, which resulted in the government appointing a special administrator.
Governor K Rosaiah then issued an order suspending the Vice-Chancellor earlier this month. The move came weeks after a special audit found financial irregularities worth several crores of rupees, apart from failure to deposit Provident Fund money and excess appointments.
The varsity had closed down indefinitely following a strike called by its employees in November last year.
Titled The Annamalai University Bill, 2013, the legislation, introduced by Minister for Higher Education P Palaniappan, stipulates that the Minister in-charge of Higher Education portfolio shall be the Pro-Chancellor of the university.
It was the ‘social obligation’ of the government to protect livelihood of staff and ensure imparting of education to rural students and therefore the government “decided to bring the existing Annamalai University Act on par with other enactments governing the Universities in the state and to repeal the said Tamil Nadu Act I of 1929,” the government said.
This means, the special status of the university, where according to the original Act the Founder was also the Pro-Chancellor, would no longer apply.
After the demise of Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar, other family members had been occupying the position.
Further, every Vice-Chancellor appointment shall be made by the Chancellor-Governor from three names recommended by a panel nominated by the Chancellor, the government and the University Syndicate.
The Association of University Teachers supported the government move. “This will help set right a lot of issues that had been plaguing the varsity owing to mismanagement. We wholeheartedly back the move,” said C Pichandy, general secretary of the association. He said the government should probe the alleged maladministration of the university.