The proposed merger of the Institute of Mathematics and Application (IMA) with Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Kolkata, has come under judicial scrutiny with the Orissa High Court issuing notice on Tuesday to both Central and State Governments on the matter.
Acting on a PIL filed by one Kamakhya Prasad Behera of Bhubaneswar challenging the decision of merger, the division bench of Chief Justice C Nagapan and Justice PK Mohanty directed Chief Secretary; Secretary, Science and Technology; Director, IMA; president of Orissa Mathematical Society (OMS); Director, ISI and Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation to file their responses within four weeks.
The petitioner protested the plans stating that IMA would lose its identity if it is merged with ISI. IMA was established in 2000 and has been engaged in significant research and exploring innovative ideas in studying heat wave, cyclone and wetland management besides dealing with traditional mathematics streams.
The ISI, Kolkata, has its centres in Delhi, Bangaluru and Hyderabad. It has decided to open centres in Bhubaneswar and Tejpur in Assam but nowhere has the ISI been merged with any institution of the State concerned. If a branch has to be opened, it can be done independently.
Further, the decision of the State Government to go ahead with the merger without any public notice was illegal. Indicating other circumstances, the petitioner has appealed to the court to quash the decision.
The issue has been raised in the State Assembly with members cutting across party lines opposing the move.