Jawaharlal Nehru University Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar on Friday was appointed as the chairperson of the University Grants Commission, or UGC. The Ministry of Education said that Kumar will retain the post for five years or till he becomes 65.

The post of the UGC chairperson had been vacant after Professor DP Singh resigned on December 7 after he turned 65. Singh had taken charge of the post in 2018, according to PTI.

Kumar’s five-year term as JNU’s vice chancellor had ended in 2021. However, the ministry had allowed him to continue till his successor was appointed. His post an the university remains to be filled.

Kumar’s tenure as the vice chancellor of the university had been marred by seveal controversies, including the 2016 sedition row and the disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed, an MSc student who was allegedly beaten up by students from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.

The JNU administration under Kumar had also come under intense scrutiny after a mob entered the campus and attacked students and teachers with sticks and iron rods in 2020.

A Congress fact-finding committee that inquired into the violence alleged that Kumar was the “mastermind” behind the attack and called for his immediate dismissal. He was also criticised for his handling of protests by students over a hostel fee hike proposal.

In 2020, Kumar’s nomination as the head of a panel to pick Madras University’s vice chancellor had also sparked a political row in Tamil Nadu. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief MK Stalin had alleged that it was an attempt to “saffronise” educational institutions in the state.

“JNU saw a brutal attack on its students even while its vice chancellor [M Jagadesh Kumar] watched on and displayed negligence,” Stalin had said.