Faced with mounting protest from students stirred by a review commission report on West Bengal’s National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS) Kolkata’s falling academic standards, its Vice-Chancellor Prof P Ishwara Bhat resigned on Wednesday.
In his letter to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Bhat cited “health and family reasons” for his inability to continue to serve the varsity in the capacity of VC.
“…It has been a great honour and privilege to serve this university which I have done with full sincerity, in accordance with law and to the best of my ability. I thank my Lordship for all the support and cooperation you have extended to me in this regard.
“However, due to health and family reasons, I would be unable to serve the University in the capacity of Vice-Chancellor,” Bhat says in his letter to the CJI.
The resignation, he said, shall come into effect on April 7 after the meeting of the executive council wherein Bhat would be placing the report of the University Review Commission.
Bhat had come under tremendous pressure after the students protested demanding his ouster following the scathing observations made in the review commission report on NUJS decline under his tenure beginning December 1, 2011.
The students had given him an ultimatum to resign by March 28 and had been carrying on a passive protest.
Bhat had taken charge as the VC of NUJS, Kolkata, on December 1, 2011.
His resignation, however, is not a sudden development and was only expected with many protests and petitions by students and disquiet in the faculty.
Way back in 2014, NUJS alumni had launched a protest petition on change.org titled “loss of confidence in the vice-chancellor and request for urgent redressal” demanding Bhat’s resignation.
The petition, which is now closed, sought the intervention of varsity’s Chancellor, CJI Misra highlighting how after Bhat assumed the office, many distinguished faculty members left NUJS Kolkata citing other commitments or for other offers.
Despite the growing loss of trust in Bhat, he was given a second term for five years in 2016.
The Student Juridical Association of NUJS Kolkata had also passed a resolution expressing deep dissatisfaction among students with Bhat’s tenure due to falling academic standards.
Later, then CJI TS Thakur gave his nod for the review commission to work on the issues plaguing the NUJS amidst students’ outcry.
It is to be noted here that Bhat’s unpopularity gained more steam after the resignation of Prof Shamnad Basheer in 2013. Prof Basheer had in his resignation letter spoke of Bhat’s vindictive behaviour.
Basheer went on to join NLU Delhi.