Amid the six months delay in appointing the chairman of UGC, HRD ministry, it is learnt, is seeking an informal legal advice regarding who should act as the chairman of UGC.
The former chairman of UGC, Ved Prakash, retired from the post on April 3 following which Commission member V S Chauhan has been acting as the temporary chairman of UGC.
According to the UGC Act, 1956, the vice-chairman handles the post of chairman in case of casual vacancy. Since the post of vice chairman is also vacant, the law provides that the government can “appoint any other member to act as the Chairman, and the person so appointed shall not hold the office of Chairman for a period exceeding six months.”
Going by this provision, Chauhan cannot act as a Chairman of UGC beyond October 4.
As of now, the search cum selection committee, headed by led by yoga therapist H R Nagendra, has sent the names of five persons for the posts and among them are NAAC chairman D P Singh, former vice-chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University A D N Bajpai, and Prof A K Singh of IGNOU but ministry has not forwarded the list to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet for the final appointment.
Faced with the deadline of October 4 and law being silent on who should take the charge after six months in case there is no official appointment, the ministry is seeking an informal legal opinion regarding the situation. According to the sources, the ministry will have to make a call this week.