BENGALURU: The ‘Lifelong Distinguished Professor’ status awarded to University of Mysore (UoM) Vice-Chancellor Prof K S Rangappa is unlikely to last long.
The Higher Education department has decided not to accept the proceedings of the syndicate meeting which approved awarding the ‘Lifelong Distinguished Professor’ status to Rangappa. Confirming this to Express, a senior official of the Department said, “Being the head of the syndicate, no V-C is allowed to place a subject relating to him and get it approved.”
“We have read reports in newspapers about awarding such a status to Prof Rangappa and we are waiting for the minutes of the proceedings to reach us. Once we receive it, we will raise objections to it and send it to the governor for action,” explained the official.
As per norms, all universities in the state have to send the proceedings of syndicate meetings to the Higher Education Department for approval and the government has rights to reject or raise objections if the decisions taken are against to rules or found to be illegal.
Meanwhile, a group of Syndicate members have decided to raise objections to the conferring of the title in the next meeting. “We heard that the matter will be placed before the next syndicate meeting for ratification. We will raise objections,” said a senior syndicate member.
G Madhusudhan, former member, Board of Management of UoM, said that Rangappa is no more a research fellow and cannot be awarded such a title. “There are criminal proceedings pending against him with regard to irregularities at Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) during his tenure as V-C. The inquiry commission constituted by the governor, which was headed by Justice Bhaktavatsala, also proved the allegations,” said Madhusudhan.
Why no action against Rangappa in KSOU case?
Academics and staff of the University of Mysore have questioned the governor and government for not taking action against Rangappa yet based on the inquiry commission report submitted by Justice Bhaktavatsala. “Over 150 points were picked by the Governor from the 600 pages report and issued notice to Rangappa and the former V-C of KSOU, Prof MG Krishnan. Rangappa gave explanation to the notice, but as it was not satisfactory, the governor directed KSOU’s current V-C to file an FIR against him. The FIR was filed at Jayalakshmipuram police station after a few days. However, it has been stayed by the court,” an official said.
Why no action in Yuvaraja College case?
Recently, the government suspended the registrar of UoM and the Principal of Yuvaraja’s College, Mysuru, for illegal appointments of teaching staff. Over 150 teaching staff were appointed to Yuvaraja’s College on contract basis. The government directed the V-C of UoM to stop the process when they issued public notice itself. But, even after series of notices, the university authorities did not bother and completed the process. Recently, questioning the act of the registrar and principal, the department of Higher Education suspended the registrar (administration) and principal of the college. However, they managed to get a stay on the suspension. “Our question is, when they can suspend the registrar and principal, why can’t the same apply to the V-C?, questioned Kumar, a syndicate member of UoM. “Though there are clear instructions from UGC not to pay more thanB25,000 for assistant professors as salary, the V-C fixed it at B50,000. Later I wrote to the governor also, but so far no action has been initiated against him.” Officials of the Higher Education department said the file has been sent to the Law department for legal opinion.
Rangappa faced allegations of plagiarism when he was V-C of KSOU. Three chemistry professors of Osmania University, Hyderabad — G Vijayalakshmi, M Adinarayana and P Jayaprakash Rao — had prepared a research paper on ‘Kinetics of oxidation of adenosine by tert-butoxyl radicals: Protection and repair by chlorogenic acid’ in 2008. It was sent to the Indian Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics on July 16, 2008, revised on August 10, 2009, and published in October 2009 in its 46 volume. The paper was allegedly plagiarised by Prof K S Rangappa who published the same in the ‘Journal of Physical Organic Chemistry’ (Europe) in April 2010. Regarding this, the original authors filed a complaint with the registrar of UoM. Later, Rangappa apologised and said that it happened because of his assistants without his knowledge, and the case was dropped.
Minister refuses to intervene in convocation row
Higher Education Minister Basavaraj Rayareddy on Wednesday refused to intervene in the issue of University of Mysore holding its convocation in advance, stating that it is left to the University Syndicate as it is an autonomous institution. The university’s decision to hold the convocation on January 10, 2017, a good three months before it used to take place every year, has left scores of PhD students angry. Because of the advancement, they have got less time to submit their theses and complete the formalities to get the degree awarded. Many fear that the early convocation may delay the award by a year.