A fortnight after the Madras High Court struck down the appointment of IIT Madras director M S Ananth because it had not been routed through the top governing body of all IITs the IIT Council the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has finally woken up to convene a meeting of the council after a gap of five years. When it meets on January 28,the council will ratify the appointment of Ananth and four other IIT directors who were given the job,bypassing it. The council,which had last met in September 2003,is also expected to address issues like pay revision of IIT faculty,creation of non-faculty posts at IITs and amendments to the IIT Act to include the new IITs started in 2008. The Madras High Court,meanwhile,is learnt to have stayed the order unseating Ananth from IIT Madras after the HRD Ministry filed a review petition on January 6. The Ministry has dug out a council order dating back to 1974-75 which delegates the power of appointment of IIT directors to the chairman,who is the HRD Minister,and just requires that the same be reported to the council.
Directors have been appointed at IIT Kharagpur and IIT Powai. Over the last five years,directors have been re-appointed at IIT Guwahati,IIT Kanpur and IIT Madras all without any meeting or deliberation by the council as should be done according to the rulebook. With the Madras High Court striking down Ananths appointment for not following established government procedure,the HRD Ministry had a reason to worry that the appointments of all other IIT directors could also be challenged. Accordingly,a meeting of the council has been scheduled,which is expected to pass a resolution on the appointment of all IIT directors.
The council which is headed by the HRD Minister as chairman has on board,among others,all IIT chairmen and directors,the UGC chairman,director and chairman,Indian Institute of Science,director general CSIR,nominees of the Central Government,All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) besides MPs and the council secretary who is usually a joint secretary in the HRD Ministry.
According to a quo warranto petition filed by an alumnus of IIT-M,E Muralidharan,Ananth was reappointed as the director of the prestigious institute in 2007,even though his tenure was over in December 2006. A search-cum-selection committee re-appointed Ananth as a director,though such power rests only with the council that cannot be entrusted to a delegate.