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Varsities Bill referred to panel

By Our Special Correspondent

BANGALORE, NOV. 24. The Legislative Assembly today referred the Karnataka State Universities Bill, 2000 to a Joint Select Committee of the Legislature for an in-depth study of the omnibus legislation which will have a bearing on higher education.

The Minister of State for Higher Education, Dr. G. Parameswar, agreed to the reference to the committee following criticism of certain provisions of the Bill such as the appointment of vice- chancellors and threat to the autonomy of universities. The Opposition members had also questioned the hurry with which it was being pushed through.

The Government was keen on the passage of the Bill. Though opposed to some of the provisions, the BJP and JD(U) members had accepted the need for a new university legislation.

Dr. Parameswar said that the Government had no vested interest in the adoption of the Bill. He refuted suggestions that it wanted to whittle down the powers of the Chancellor. They had the highest respect for the office of Chancellor (Governor) and the present holder of the office, Ms. V.S. Rama Devi. The first woman Governor was conducting herself in an exemplary manner. The Constitution itself guaranteed the powers of the Governor. The minister said that the Government never interfered in the appointment of vice-chancellors. In fact, it had not even discussed with the Chancellor the appointment of a new vice- chancellor for the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad or giving a second term to the vice-chancellor of the University of Mysore. He asked how the Government could interfere in the affairs of universities. Though he was the pro-chancellor of the universities, he did not get any files from the universities.

Dr. Parameswar asked the Opposition members if the Centre was not taking political decisions with regard to the appointment of the chairmen of the University Grants Commission and the All-India Council of Technical Education. The former controlled 250 universities in the country. The Union Government made appointments to those powerful posts.

At the outset, the minister commended the efforts made by the JD(U) member, Mr. B. Somashekar, for preparing a draft of the Universities Bill when he was the minister concerned. He also thanked the Opposition members for the suggestions received from them.

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