Amid confrontation between Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit and the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the former, on Tuesday, asked Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to remove Satbir Singh Gosal as vice-chancellor (V-C) of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, as his appointment, he said, was made “without following UGC norms and approval of the Chancellor”.
The Governor Purohit, who is the chancellor of the PAU, said this act, Gosal’s appointment, by the Punjab government is “totally illegal and cannot be accepted by any logic”. In a letter to the chief minister, he asked him to remove the PAU V-C, who, he alleged, has been appointed illegally, without any further delay.
“Charge of the Vice-Chancellor and PAU may be handed over to the Administrative Secretary of the Agriculture Department till the appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor. You are also requested to instruct your concerned department to initiate the process of the appointment of the new vice-chancellor, in consultation with the Chancellor. I hope you will realise the seriousness of the issue and take corrective measures immediately in the right spirit,” the Governor said in the letter.
Earlier, Purohit had declined to clear the appointment of cardiologist Gurpreet Wander as V-C of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) Faridkot. Dr Wander later withdrew his candidature from the post and requested the government not to send his name in the panel of three candidates for the V-C’s post as directed by the Governor.
The CM, Bhagwant Mann, had announced Dr. Wander’s appointment as V-C of the BFUHS on Twitter on 30 September. The post of V-C was lying vacant for the past two months after Dr. Raj Bahadur resigned from the post.
The Governor, who is the Chancellor of the (BFUHS) also, had returned the file for Dr. Wander’s appointment saying the government violated the rules by recommending only one name for the V-C’s post.
While denying differences between the state government and Governor of Punjab, Mann had said the Punjab government has cordial ties with the Governor. He said the state government will send the panel of three names for appointment of vice-chancellor to him but the tradition had been that the Governor gives consent to the name proposed by the state government.
Earlier in September, the Governor had withdrawn an order summoning a special session of the Punjab Assembly on 22 September to table a confidence motion citing rules. Later, he also questioned the government about the business it wanted to take up in the legislative Assembly.
Following this, the Mann Government had to summon the session of state Assembly on 27 September to discuss “various issues” pertaining to Punjab. While the Opposition parties had welcomed the decision, AAP leaders, including the CM had criticised Purohit calling it an attack on democracy.
Meanwhile, the Governor accused Bhagwant Mann of deliberately trying to run down the grace and dignity of the Governor’s office repeatedly.
Commenting on the Punjab Governor’s order to the CM to remove the newly-appointed PAU VC, Chugh said it was the second incident within a fortnight in which Mann had violated the constitutional provisions to disgrace the governor.
He said the AAP government was deliberately challenging the authority of the Governor and is thus causing a constitutional break-down in the state.
“Such incidents are not only bringing disgrace to the accomplished personalities but are also demonstrating how bankrupt the state government has become in discharging its responsibilities and duties’ ‘, Chugh added.
Chugh questioned the AAP government deliberately and calculatedly trying to disgrace the constitutional institutions to earn cheap popularity. He said the chief minister is challenging the rights and duties of the Punjab Governor which was a grave sign for the state.
The Governor directed CM to remove the new PAU VC as, he said, Gosal’s appointment was “without following UGC norms and approval of the Chancellor”.
The Governor, who is the chancellor of PAU, said this act, Gosal’s appointment, of the Punjab government is “totally illegal and cannot be accepted by any logic”.