NEW DELHI: A letter sent by Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) chief Y Sudershan Rao five months back seeking permission to step down on personal grounds has put the HRD ministry in a quandary with officials contending that this did not tantamount to resigning.
Rao has in the absence of any response from the HRD ministry continued with his assignment.
In his letter to HRD minister Smriti Irani in November last year, Rao, who had headed the top history research body for over an year then, said, "May I kindly be permitted to submit my resignation from the office of the Chairman, ICHR, New Delhi on personal grounds and request your goodself to accept the same."
However, as the officials of the ministry went into the semantics of it, they felt that seeking permission to submit resignation is not the same thing as quitting.
Consequently, Rao, continues to head ICHR, several months after he had in a note put on its website that he had sent his resignation.
"From the language of the letter, the HRD ministry felt that it is a request seeking permission to resign. Therefore the ministry has not treated it as a resignation letter," a top HRD ministry functionary told reporters when asked why the ministry had taken no action over the letter.
"We have not treated Rao's letter as a resignation. But we may in the coming days send a response to the letter sent by him," another senior official said.
The appointment of Rao, who is believed to be associated with the Akhil Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Yojana which is affiliated to the RSS, had also been a controversial one and attracted criticism from other historians like Romila Thapar who had expressed surprise while questioning his academic credentials.
In his press note Rao had thanked the HRD minister for having appointed him.
Rao did not respond to an email and phone calls when asked for his comments on the ministry's contention.