TAKING SUO motu notice of a news item in The Indian Express carrying the statement of Panjab University Vice-Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover that the varsity is likely to shut down by January next year if the Centre does not release funds and that the varsity is in the hands of ‘mafia’, the Punjab and Haryana High Court Thursday issued notice of motion to the Panjab University.
A Division Bench comprising Justices S S Saron and Lisa Gill directed the university to file its response by October 20.
Justice Mahesh Grover, who is himself an alumnus of Panjab University, took suo motu notice of the news item “Panjab University may shut down by January if Centre doesn’t clear funds: VC” published on September 4. He had sent his observations to Chief Justice Shiavax Jal Vazifdar for treating it as a public interest litigation after which the case was listed for hearing on Thursday.
Justice Grover had observed that the Vice-Chancellor’s statement raises an issue of pre-eminent concern about the premier historical institution which has produced men of stature in all spheres of life. “The statement has to be accorded primacy in consideration coming from a person of the stature of a Vice Chancellor, an assignment entrusted to men of eminence,” stated Justice Grover. He added that in his considered view, it would be the bounden duty of all to see that the University which has been in existence since pre-Partition days, does not hasten towards its demise for lack of funds.
“Evidently, if the doom is predicted so soon, the institution must be in a state of decay already. Apparently, the stakeholders of the university have done little to share the financial burden while constantly obstructing the University’s efforts to be declared a Central University which could possibly have ameliorated the situation,” said Justice Grover.
The judge added that the Vice-Chancellor’s statement about the University being in the hands of a ‘Mafia’ too has to be treated with great concern.
Describing it as serious state of affairs, particularly the apprehensions of the Vice Chancellor of shutting down of the University for lack of funds, the judge stated that the cumulative impact of both the statements would invite the concern of all who have been associated with the premier institution and the judge himself being as an alumni would venture to take suo motu notice of the situation.