SC: Appointment of V-Cs by former Bihar Guv illegal

A Bench of Justices G S Sighvi and V Gopala Gowda held that the appointments made by Konwar as chancellor were not only “illegal” but also “contemptuous”.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published: August 20, 2013 2:14 am

Censuring the decision of Bihar’s former Governor Devanand Konwar,the Supreme Court Monday quashed the appointments of nine vice-chancellors and two pro-vice chancellors made early this year by him.

A Bench of Justices G S Sighvi and V Gopala Gowda held that the appointments made by Konwar as chancellor were not only “illegal” but also “contemptuous”. The court noted that the decisions of making these appointments,by way of three notifications,was made without an effective consultation with the state government and in “contemptuous disregard” of the orders passed by the Patna High Court.

“What is most shocking is that chancellor selected two V-Cs and one Pro-VC despite the fact they were facing prosecutions under the IPC,SC/ST Act and Prevention of Corruption Act…against some other persons,there were charges of wrongful withdrawal of TA,DA,” noted the Bench.

It maintained that “it can only be a matter of imagination how the universities will be safe in their hands”. The court criticised the fact that several such appointments would have been made in the past due to candidates’ allegiances to political parties.

“We don’t have slightest hesitation to hold that appointments made by the chancellor blatantly violated provisions of Bihar State University Act,Patna University Act and Article 14 (right to equality),” said the court. The Bench further dispelled the state of uncertainty prevailing in the academic circles over the appointment of full-fledged V-Cs and asked the chancellor to make appointments of nine V-Cs and two Pro V-Cs “with meaningful and effective consultation with the state government” and by a “transparent process”.

In accordance with the UGC guidelines,the Bench asked for the constitution of a search committee and make necessary recommendations to the Chancellor,who will prepare a panel of selected candidates and then consult the government.

The court said the selection should be completed in three months and the appointments within four weeks thereafter.

The court’s decision has come as a shot in the arm of the Nitish Klumar government,which had a standoff with Konwar over the issue of appointments of V-Cs and Pro V-Cs.

The Patna High Court had on December 7 last quashed appointment of six of the eight V-Cs by the Governor on the ground that the state government was not consulted.

The High Court had also directed the chancellor to make a fresh list of candidates for appointment of the V-Cs and Pro V-Cs within 30 days. However,the Governor reappointed the same persons as the V-Cs. Interestingly,Konwar appointed one V-C and two Pro V-Cs after the announcement that he was being replaced as Bihar Governor.

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