Bihar Governor orders all State varsities to heed only him


Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar, Governor of Bihar

Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar, Governor of Bihar
| Photo Credit: ASHOK R

Raj Bhavan has issued instructions to Vice Chancellors of all Universities in Bihar not to follow any orders except those from the Governor and Raj Bhavan. Principal Secretary to Governor Robert L. Chongthu wrote a letter with these instructions. The letter is dated August 30 and was made available on Friday.

The letter from Raj Bhavan states that orders from anyone other than Raj Bhavan or the Governor’s Secretariat is not compatible with their autonomy.

Undermining autonomy

“Certain officials are attempting to create confusion illegally and recalcitrantly, and are undermining the established autonomy of the University administration as well as the clearly laid down and unambiguous power and authority of the office of Chancellor in the matter of running the affairs of Universities,“ the letter says. 

It goes on, that in order to clarify the matter authoritatively, the Chancellor in exercise of powers conferred on him under Section 9 Sub-Section (7) (ii) and (8) of the Bihar State University Act 1976, considers it necessary to issue direction to the Universities and accordingly, to order that henceforth all Vice-Chancellors and other statutory officials/authorities of the Universities are required to comply with and carry out faithfully the orders/directions of, and to seek guidelines and clarification from, the Secretariat office of the Chancellor alone in the domains of administrative and academic affairs and interest of the Universities.

Mr. Chongthu also writes that It is further clarified that they are in no position to feel obliged to heed in this regard any orders or directives issued without authority and jurisdiction over the Statutorily ordained University affairs by any person in derogation to clearly defined autonomy of the Universities.

Similar instructions were issued in 2009 as well to all Vice Chancellors of Bihar by Raj Bhavan when late Devanand Konwar was the Governor of Bihar. 

State order stymied

Trouble has been brewing between Raj Bhavan and the State government after Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar reversed an order of the Bihar Education Department to freeze bank accounts of two officials at Muzaffarpur’s Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar Bihar University last month. 

The Education department had ordered stopping of salaries of the university Vice-Chancellor and Pro-VC for their alleged failure to inspecting an institution in their jurisdiction and for not attending a review meeting held by it.

Last month the Education Department invited applications for VCs of five Universities in Bihar. However, after a few days the department withdrew the notification regarding the VCs appointment.

Acknowledging the conflict between Raj Bhavan and the Education Department, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had visited Raj Bhavan to meet the Governor who is de facto Chancellor of all State Universities. The BJP has been demanding removal of K.K. Pathak, Additional Chief Secretary of the Education Department.

On June 16, the Education Department wrote a letter to all Universities not to introduce four-year degree courses approved by Governor in line with UGC recommendations. Finally, the Raj Bhavan instructions were implemented from 2023-2024 academic session.


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