New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee today returned the file of the HRD ministry recommending sacking of Visva Bharati Vice Chancellor Sushanta Duttagupta and asked it to seek a legal opinion before any decision can be taken.
The file relating to the Vice Chancellor of the prestigious central university was sent back to the Human Resources Development(HRD) ministry asking them to attach a legal opinion from the Law ministry before the President could take a decision, official sources said.
The ministry had sent Duttagupta's file to the President recently after it allegedly found him guilty of financial and administrative wrongdoings.
The HRD ministry will now send the file to the Law ministry for its opinion from any of the law officers of the government, ministry officials said.
The officials said the action was necessitated as the ministry was "unconvinced" by his reply to the show cause notice issued to him in June.
Charges against Duttagupta included drawing salary from Visva Bharati and pension from Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU) simultaneously in alleged violation of the law.
Under the law, he was required to have got his pension amount deducted from the pay he received from Visva Bharati. Besides this, Duttagupta was charged with making irregular appointments, including that of the Controller of Examinations despite having no powers, and sanctioning key posts in violation of the Visva Bharati Act.
Though the existing laws relating to Central Universities do not provide for sacking of a Vice Chancellor, President Pranab Mukherjee can invoke section 16 of the General Clauses Act, 1987, to remove him.
The Act empowers the appointing authority to suspend or dismiss any person appointed under a central act or regulation.
A three-member panel set up by the HRD Ministry and headed by former Allahabad High Court judge Justice (retd) S S Yadav had allegedly found him guilty of the charges in February.
Senior Congress leader from West Bengal and Rajya Sabha MP Pradeep Bhattacharya had in June met the President to demand his removal, alleging the university was "losing its glory" under him.