Wardha University: Registrar Issues Unconditional Apology, Ambedkar Study Circle Disbanded, Institution in Spotlight

The bench noted that the university intentionally defied the court's orders from February 16, 2024, by preventing the petitioner from accessing the campus for further studies, concluding that the registrar is potentially liable for contempt of court.
Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya
Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya

Guwahati: After denying entry to the expelled scholars into the campus for the past two months despite a court-issued stay on their sentences, the registrar of Mahatma Gandhi Antarashtriya Hindi University has finally faced justice. The court has reprimanded him, and he has issued an unconditional apology.

This reprimand came during the hearing of scholar Niranjan Oberoi, who had filed a ‘contempt of court’ against the university administration.

Oberoi informed The Mooknayak that despite the court ordering a stay, the university repeatedly denied him entry. Even after reaching out to the administration through multiple emails, they did not provide any reason for their actions, forcing him to take up the issue with the court.

The issue was heard by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, presided over by judges Abhay J. Mantri and Nitin W. Sambre on 23rd April.

They acknowledged the notice of contempt to Dr. Dharvesh Katheria, Registrar of Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya, Wardha, as he did not “permit the petitioner to enter the campus despite there being an order of stay passed by this Court on 16th February 2024,” making “himself liable for contempt.”

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They further ordered the Diptisingh Katheriya, the registrar, to be present on the next hearings, which was scheduled to take place on 29th April and 6th May.

During these hearings, the same bench observed that the “University has intentionally and deliberately acted in contravention” and disregarded the orders of this Court passed on 16.2.2024 thereby “not permitting the petitioner – student to enter the campus and to peruse his further studies.”

This, according to the bench, makes the registrar “liable for an action under the Contempt of Courts Act.”

During the subsequent hearing on 6th May, Katheriya appeared in court as scheduled. The High Court expressed disappointment with the registrar's failure to fully comply with its orders. It warned that if the court's directives were not adhered to, contempt proceedings would be initiated against the university's registrar.

Additionally, the registrar offered an unconditional apology and requested the court to dismiss the contempt proceedings against him.

Oberoi faced expulsion due to his alleged involvement in activities against the appointment of the new Vice Chancellor. In August 2023, the university's former Vice Chancellor resigned.

Despite expectations that L. Karunyakara, the most senior professor, would assume the role, Bhimaraya Metri, the former director of IIM Nagpur, was appointed as the new VC two months later.

This decision caught many by surprise and triggered protests from the students' union. Consequently, several students who had displayed banners opposing the new VC during Republic Day celebrations were expelled. On March 28th, the same bench had declared this very same appointment illegal.

Ambedkar Study Circle at Wardha Uni Dismissed:

On the other hand, the university has halted the weekly readings and discussions of Bhimrao Ambedkar's works by an informal group of Dalit faculty members on its campus. The university issued show-cause notices to seven teachers involved and took punitive measures against four of them.

The administration raised concerns that these readings, which had been ongoing for two years, could jeopardize student safety, health, and the university's reputation.

In February 2022, a gathering of Dalit faculty members established the Ambedkar Study Circle India on campus. They convened weekly sessions near an Ambedkar statue, delving into readings and dialogues centered on his compiled writings.

Despite conducting sixty-one sessions spanning two years, the registrar-in-charge instructed the discontinuation of this activity in January, citing unauthorized conduct and potential hazards to the university.

Although one of the seven teachers expressed remorse and withdrew from the circle, the remaining six upheld the venture, affirming that it was initiated with due notification to campus authorities.

According to a report by local media, among the professors, Shailesh Marji Kadam and Ravindra Borkar were relocated to different campuses by the university, although Borkar managed to secure a court order halting the transfer.

Furthermore, Lella Karunyakara was relieved of duties as director of the Buddhist Study Centre, and Surjit K. Singh was removed from the position of acting head. Additionally, several non-teaching staff members from Karunyakara's office were transferred.

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