Already angry that their college had taken the unprecedented step of denying over 100 students admission to the next year because of low attendance, a group of these students were left fuming when they found out earlier this month that their in-charge or acting principal did not have the university’s approval.
On June 3, mid-day had reported how over 100 students from the first- and second-year BA and BCom courses in Mithibai College had been denied admission to the next year. File pic
On June 3, mid-day had reported how over 100 students from the first and second-year BA and BCom courses in Mithibai College had been denied admission to the next year because of low attendance.
Dileep Kamat’s term as in-charge principal of Mithibai College came to an end in December 2014
Following this, a group of the students, along with an NGO, had filed an RTI application to find out about the eligibility of their in-charge principal, Dileep Kamat, and were shocked to find that he had been approved for the post only till December last year and had been functioning without the University of Mumbai (MU’s) approval from then on (see box).
“The principal is the face of the management for us and the fact that the in-charge principal had been taking such bold decisions in the college mattered to all of us. While over a hundred of us were asked to leave, some didn’t bother coming back and sought admission in other colleges, but some of us filed an RTI to find out if he could take such decisions, only to find that he did not have the university’s approval,” said one of the students.
A group of students had approached NGO Naari Sanmaan Sangathan for help and filed the RTI application with the help of the NGO’s members. In the RTI reply, MU has clearly stated that Shri Vile Parle Kelvani Mandal (SVKM), which runs the college, had given approval for in-charge principal Dileep Kamat till December 2014.
University officials told mid-day that since the approval for an extension of Kamat’s term is still pending, it was not correct for him to continue as the in-charge principal.
“The college had sought permission to promote one of their seniormost faculty members, Dr Dileep Kamat to the principal’s post, and we had given approval for in-charge principal,” said a senior official from MU. He added that SVKM had made the application for Kamat in June 2014 and their approval was meant only till December 2014.
Following this, the college was supposed to send advertisements and conduct interviews and subsequently file a report to the university. “We have not yet received any report from the management about the interviews of other candidates and why they were not better suited for the post than the current principal in-charge.
Therefore, the process of extending the approval is still pending,” he added. He also said that since the management had not filed the report and the approval from MU is still pending, it was not correct for Kamat to continue as the in-charge principal.
When mid-day spoke to Mithibai College in-charge principal Dileep Kamat, he agreed that his approval from the university had expired in December 2014 but stated that the college management had applied for an extension of his term as the in-charge.
“The approval for my post had come in June 2014 and it was applicable till December, The management had applied an extension for the same. However I’m not aware if the approval has come through,” said Kamat. When mid-day asked him if he could still dictate terms at the college, without the approval, he said that the call was for the management to make.
Members of Naari Sanmaan Sangathan said they were angry that college management was taking this issue lightly. “The fact that the principal has not been approved by the university is obviously known to the management and yet they have allowed him to take decisions which can cost students an entire academic year. How is this fair?” asked Sundari Thakur from the NGO.
According to MU rules, colleges affiliated to it need the university’s approval for appointing principals. Colleges can appoint in-charge principals - while they look for, and interview, suitable candidates after issuing an advertisement for a few months with the university’s approval.
Should they seek an extension for the in-charge principal, however, they have to file a report detailing what they have done in the interim - how many candidates they have interviewed etc - and giving reasons for the delay in the appointment. Mithibai College did not file this report.