Manipur University Vice Chancellor Arya Prasad Pandey on Thursday moved the High Court, challenging the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s decision to form a two-member committee to investigate allegations of irregularities against him. The vice chancellor, who rejoined office on September 1 after a month’s leave, has appealed that the inquiry panel be disbanded, PTI reported.

Pandey’s counsel said the High Court was yet to admit his petition. “Manipur High Court judge N Kotiswar has referred the plea to a larger bench comprising Chief Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar as the matter involves public interests,” the counsel added.

Pandey had been sent on leave after a group of students and teachers began protesting against him, demanding that the vice chancellor be removed for alleged administrative ineptitude. The university has been closed since May 31.

On August 16, a memorandum of agreement was signed between the students’ union, the teachers’ association, the staff association and representatives of the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the state government. According to the agreement, Pandey was supposed to be on leave till the inquiry against him is completed.

However, Pandey returned on September 1 despite being given an extension, and banned two protesting groups – the Manipur University Teachers Association and Manipur University Staff Association. This led to fresh protests.

On Thursday, Manipur University Students Union protestors gathered at the varsity’s gate in Canchipur area of Imphal and burned effigies of the vice chancellor. Around 40 protesters also tried to storm Pandey’s official residence, from where he has been conducting his official activities since September 1. However, the police prevented the demonstrators from entering.

Manipur University Students’ Union President M Dayamand urged President Ram Nath Kovind to intervene in the matter, PTI reported.

Allegations against Pandey

The protestors have accused Pandey of incompetence and conducting several “non-academic activities” out of his office after taking charge in October 2016. He has also failed to fill key positions such as that of the university’s chancellor and registrar.

The protestors have also alleged that Pandey goes on leave for long periods without mentioning his date of return, and an “extraordinary” amount of money is used for these trips. Some protestors also accused the vice chancellor of attempting to “saffronise the university” by promoting some groups that have connections with right-wing organisations.