In a setback to Mumbai University Vice-Chancellor Rajan Welukar just a few months before his retirement, the Bombay High Court Wednesday asked a “search committee” to give its findings on questions raised over his appointment to the post.
Chief Justices Mohit Shah and B P Colabawalla asked for the formation of a search committee within two weeks by the Governor and Chancellor of universities in Maharashtra, and then the committee will act on the contentions of the petitioners and issues confirmed by another bench of HC.
The committee will have to decide on the issue over Welukar’s eligibility in holding the office. Their decision on the matter will again be placed before court after six weeks.
Keeping in mind the order of the other bench, the court said the university should place the matter before the search committee to consider the question of Welukar’s eligibility.
“Leave it open to petitioners to place any other material before the search committee within two weeks from today,” the bench ordered.
One of the petitioners, who have challenged Welukar’s appointment, in the case, said that he was not a good academic as he had scored 55 per cent in his MPhil exam.
“His appointment was ad-hoc, therefore, doesn’t qualify to be a teacher under the University Act. His appointment was not in 1983, but September 1985. So he doesn’t have minimum teaching experience,” claimed his lawyer Pankaj Kowli.
When the question of who has to decide on the final decision on the issue was raised, Shekhar Jagtap who appeared for another petition, said it should be placed before the court again and not the Chancellor.
On December 11, the HC bench of Justices P V Hardas and Anuja Prabhudessai had said the decision to include Welukar’s name in the list of contenders for the post of VC “suffered from non-application of mind”. The bench questioned the existence of any such provision in law for seeking such clarification.