Gujarat Vidyapith appoints in-charge Vice Chancellor

Ahmedabad: A senior professor of the Gujarat Vidyapith has been asked to take over as its in-charge vice chancellor, ahead of the high court’s deadline of January 17 for action against VC Rajendra Khimani, who has resigned, based on a University Grants Commission report, sources said.

Professor Bharat Joshi, from the Department of Education of the Vidyapith, founded by Mahatma Gandhi, has been asked to take charge until the new appointment is made.

Joshi has confirmed he received a call regarding the same. He has agreed to take charge on Monday.

The UGC in November 2021 directed the chancellor of the Vidyapith, a deemed university based in Ahmedabad, to remove Khimani as VC after its inquiry report identified a procedural lapse in his appointment.

There were also certain lapses on Khimani’s part in the administrative and financial functioning of the Gujarat Vidyapith as the registrar between April 1, 2004, to April 30, 2019, the UGC report stated.

Khimani resigned before the January 17, 2023 deadline set by the Gujarat High Court for the university to pass an appropriate order regarding him, sources said. He had served as its life-long chancellor.

Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat had recently taken over as the new chancellor of the Vidyapith after former chancellor and social worker Ela Bhatt (now deceased) resigned.

Based on a report constituted to look into Khimani’s appointment, the UGC had directed the then chancellor to remove Khimani with immediate effect. The UGC had said failure to comply with its directions would attract penal action by the UGC Act and Regulations of 2019 including withdrawing of grants.

Khimani had challenged the UGC order in the high court terming it “illegal, arbitrary and in breach of Regulation 10.12.2.E of the UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2019”.

Rejecting his petition, the HC on September 21, 2022, directed the Vidyapith to follow the due process and pass appropriate orders based on the report of the UGC as per law.