Even as the row over Delhi University's four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP) raged, a group of academicians today came out in support of it and dubbed the UGC's order for its rollback as a "blatant transgression of DU's academic freedom and autonomy".
Addressing a press conference here, a member of DU's Executive Council Aditya Narayan Mishra accused the University Grants Commission (UGC) of overstepping its mandate saying UGC can only give recommendations to universities and alleged that it was a conspiracy to destroy DU's autonomy. "UGC's diktat not only is violation of the long-standing autonomy of DU since its inception in the pre-independence days in 1922, but is also in contradiction to its own rules, regulations, and letters to DU where it clearly states the freedom regarding the duration of course with cap being only on the minimum number of necessary years for awarding a degree," Mishra, accompanied by a number of teachers, said.
"UGC has overstepped its own mandate, Acts and regulations in acting as a more than willing instrument of HRD Ministry. That is why UGC has conveniently turned a blind eye to several institutions which are running 4-5 year courses," he alleged.
The former president of Delhi University of Teachers' Association further said UGC's "violation of rule of law in dictating DU and its colleges" sounds the death knell of freedom of academics in high education. "It is a very dangerous trend with absolutely no limits to its operation. If we do not have autonomy, how will we decide on what course we will teach or what structure needs to be followed? What will be left of the university if it cannot take even its own decisions?" he asked.
Mishra claimed that all rules were properly followed in the introduction of the FYUP. "After being passed by Academic Council and Executive Council, an ordinance is sent to the President, Visitor of the University, and if no negative remark is received within a month, it is considered to be passed," he said.
Mishra said they plan to organise a hunger strike tomorrow and also seek Prime Minister's intervention in the matter. The UGC yesterday issued directions both to DU and all 64 colleges under it to conduct admission under the three-year under-graduate programme and not under the four-year UG programme implemented by the varsity last year.
The Commission warned DU and the colleges of "consequences" if they failed to implement UGC direction.