Delhi University vice chancellor Dinesh Singh kept everyone confused and guessing on Tuesday. First came reports that he had resigned. Then that he hadn't resigned. Uncertainity marked the day.
Finally, it was said that when no respite came from the apex court, Singh had resigned.
But till late in the night neither the HRD ministry nor the president or the vice-president had received Singh's resignation. The VC of DU can send in his resignation to only these constitutional authorities.
In the evening, the UGC issued a fresh directive to the university asking it to order colleges to admit students in the three-year programme.
"If the VC has resigned, he should have sent his resignation to the ministry. The ministry would then forward it to the vice-president," said a senior HRD Ministry officer.
The controversy is about the radical four-year undergraduate course (FYUP) introduced in the Delhi University and masterminded and charted by Dinesh Singh. It had a two-year foundation course followed by an eight semester discipline course. It was structured along the lines of courses in top global universities, thus increasing the number of foreign applicants, substantially, to 6,000.
A section within the university holds the view that the curriculum was designed without proper consultation. It was just pushed through by the VC.
Though many teachers supported it since it was a way out of the rut in which higher education in the country had fallen into, DUTA, the leading teachers union opposed it. The main reason was that it made life tougher for teachers who had to brush up on many courses.
Earlier, on Tuesday morning, a section of DU teachers moved a PIL in the Supreme Court against the UGC for interfering in the internal matters of the varsity. The SC referred the matter to the high court for hearing.
The VC met his core team at his official residence in the evening. The meeting lasted for 20 minutes. Sudhish Pachauri, pro VC of the university, told the media that they have convinced Singh to not resign. "We have asked him to hold back his resignation," he said.
Activist Madhu Kishwar, characteristically, entered into the controversy. After Pachauri, Kiswar issued a statement on behalf of the VC. "The VC has authorised me to tell the media that he has not resigned. He is under tremendous pressure," Kishwar told a news channel.
Kishwar, who on an earlier occassion had objected to Smriti Irani's appoinment as HRD minister, said: "The VC is definitely sticking it out. It is a dangerous thing to happen that the Union HRD minister is threatening the head of an university through a bunch of officials."
Kishwar also alleged that Irani made Singh wait in her office for two hours on Monday and then left without meeting him. She alleged the UGC chairman had threatened Singh to resign or an FIR would be registered against him.
UGC chairman Ved Prakash and HRD secretary Ashok Thakur held a meeting in the evening to break the deadlock. Prakash has written a letter to Delhi University asking it to direct colleges to start admissions to the three-year programme, and 57 of the 64 DU colleges have agreed to do so.
Even developing countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh have moved to a four-year graduation curriculum.
Gujarat, Haryana and Chhattisgarh have constituted committees to create a roadmap for switching to four years' programme.