President can appoint, remove directors, dissolve board-

The Centre has notified new norms for the appointment of directors of Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) making it mandatory for applicants to have first-class degrees in both Bachelor’s and Master’s, along with a PhD or equivalent from a reputed institute. Also, the President will now be a “Visitor” to the prestigious B-Schools with powers to appoint the chairperson of the board of governors, appoint and remove directors and dissolve the board for not performing duties or complying with visitor’s directions, as stated in a report by PTI

Under the new rules, the eligibility for appointment as an IIM director now will be having a “distinguished” academic record with a “first class degree in both Bachelor’s and Master’s level and with PhD or equivalent from a reputed institute”. Earlier, the criteria used to be a “distinguished academic with PhD or equivalent” and there was no mention of the required division for the degrees.

Recent controversy

Recently, there was a controversy over the appointment of Dheeraj Sharma as IIM Rohtak Director as he had a second division in his Bachelor’s. According to the new norms, the Visitor will have the final say in the appointment of the director of any IIM.

The Visitor shall nominate one of the names recommended by the board and send it to the board for appointment. In this regard, the notification read, “Provided that where the Visitor is not satisfied with the names recommended by the Board, he or she may ask the Board to make fresh recommendations. If the Visitor is not satisfied with the panel of names recommended by the Board, the Board shall get a fresh panel of three names recommended through the same search-cum-selection committee or a fresh search-cum-selection committee.”

To recall, the board was solely responsible for the appointment of the director earlier. The concept of a Visitor in IIMs was first mentioned in the draft of the present act released by the Centre in 2015. However, IIMs had resisted it saying that it would “put a question mark on their said autonomous powers”. Later, it was removed from the final bill.

President as visitor

The President of India is the Visitor of all the central universities and Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and appoints their vice-chancellors and directors. Under the new norms, the Visitor will now have the power to dissolve the board, at any time, under three circumstances: if the visitor is of the opinion that the board is unable to discharge the functions, is persistently defaulted in complying with any direction given by the Visitor under this Act, and in the public interest. Earlier, no such clause for the dissolution of the board was there, as stated in a report by PTI. 

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