Delhi University Vice Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi was suspended on the orders of President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday after an inquiry was instituted against him over allegations of administrative lapses and dereliction of duty, according to officials of the Ministry of Education.
Tyagi is possibly the first Delhi University VC to face suspension. University officials said such an action had not been taken against any VC in at least three decades.
The action comes amid a power tussle in the central university.
The President, who is the Visitor to the university, has placed Tyagi under suspension to ensure that the inquiry is fair and that he is not able to tamper with material records or coerce the witnesses, a senior ministry official said.
Among the lapses flagged against Tyagi are non-filling of vacant positions, delay in redressal of sexual harassment cases and vigilance complaints in university, mishandling of the issue of ad-hoc teachers which led to a massive agitation, and non-submission of detailed plan for implementation of the Institution of Eminence and the latest being certain appointments made while he is on medical leave.
"The President of India in his capacity as Visitor of the University, on consideration of facts and material available on record, has ordered to conduct an inquiry into the allegations of dereliction of duties and lack of commitment and devotion to duty against Yogesh Tyagi," said Chandra Shekhar Kumar, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Education.
"The president has also been pleased to place him under suspension with immediate effect until further orders as he may influence or coerce the witnesses and tamper with the material records of the university so as to ensure fair inquiry.
"All orders issued by or issued with the approval of Yogesh Tyagi during the period of his absence on medical ground are set aside and to be treated as null and void," he added.
Tyagi has been on leave since July 2 when he was admitted to AIIMS under emergency medical condition. The government had on July 17 given Pro-VC P C Joshi the charge of VC, until Tyagi resumes office.
"Yogesh Tyagi as Vice Chancellor of University of Delhi failed to discharge the duties and responsibilities entrusted to him under the varsity's Act and Statutes. Many statutory and key posts remained vacant during his tenure in spite of regular follow-up by the Ministry.
"Despite a clear message from the Ministry to fill up the teaching posts in a time-bound manner, the process to fill the vacancies has been delayed. Certain vigilance complaints and sexual harassment cases in the university are also pending for more than two years in violation of the provisions of the relevant Act, despite regular follow-up by the Ministry. This shows insensitivity on the part of Vice Chancellor in disposing such matters," Kumar said.
The senior ministry official said the vice chancellor is not administering the university in accordance with statutory provisions which has caused "mis-governance" and "malfunctioning" of University of Delhi.
"This is not conducive for appropriate academic as well as administrative environment of the university," he said.
A controversy erupted last week when Tyagi removed Joshi as pro-VC on Thursday and appointed Geeta Bhatt, the director of the Non-Collegiate Women's Eduction Board of the university, in his place.
Joshi had, meanwhile, notified the appointment of a new registrar, Vikas Gupta, whose interview had been completed and appointment cleared by the executive council on Wednesday.
However, the same day, Tyagi had approved and notified the appointment of P C Jha as acting registrar and director of the South Campus.
The ministry then intervened in the power tussle between the vice chancellor and the pro-vice chancellor, saying appointments made by Tyagi were not "valid" as he is on leave.
The power tussle intensified with Jha writing to the ministry citing himself as "acting Registrar" and saying that all decisions taken by Tygai are in accordance with university norms. The ministry took objection to the letter and directed the varsity to take strict action against him.
Meanwhile, the Delhi University has called an urgent Executive Council meeting on Thursday.
Tyagi's predecessor Dinesh Singh too had been locked in a battle with the government and there were repeated calls for his removal, but he completed his tenure.