RESTORING THE position of Professor Emanual Nahar as Dean Students Welfare at Panjab University and directing the varsity to convene a meeting of Senate within seven days to vote on the Syndicate recommendation regarding his extension, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday said the “tearing haste” with which the order of his removal was passed “at first flash” is “indicative of the fact that the Vice Chancellor wanted his dissent to prevail”.
Observing that the purported resolution — which indicates that the Senate authorised the V-C to make necessary arrangements as the Syndicate recommendation was without his approval — was only made public in the course of hearing on Monday, Justice Arun Monga said it is therefore to be taken with a pinch of salt. The single bench added that the resolution dated August 22 “intriguingly” was not circulated to the members of the Senate for approval to date, and is merely signed by the V-C.
“From the perusal of the minutes of the Syndicate and the stand of the V-C, reflected in the same, the irrefragable position that emerges, and rightly so, when tested on the provisions/regulations contained in the University Calendar, is that the Senate is the Supreme Body of the University followed by Syndicate constituted by members of the Senate followed by the Vice-Chancellor who is also a member of the Syndicate as well as the Senate,” Justice Monga ruled.
The university had removed Professor Nahar and Professor Neena Caplash from their posts of DSWs on August 22 while citing the purported Senate decision. Nahar and at least four Senators approached the High Court submitting that the majority of the members were in favour of the extension but Kumar closed the Senate proceedings in haste. The Senate “resolution” cited and produced by the university was called into question.
V-C in tearing haste
Observing that prima facie, it appears that the VC was the only one who had expressed dissent on continuation of Nahar as DSW even as the Syndicate had recommended his continuation subject to the approval by the Senate, the court said, “The tearing haste in which the impugned order has been passed, at first flash, is indicative that the Vice Chancellor wanted his dissent to prevail. More so, when the proposed successor of the petitioner, i.e., Professor Jagat Bhushan was not even available, being on leave, at the relevant time and it was ordered until he is on leave, Professor Hemant Batra shall hold the charge in his place.”
Rejecting the contention that the Vice-Chancellor’s recommendation or non-recommendation for the post of DSW cannot be disregarded by either the Syndicate or the Senate, the court also disagreed with the submission that minutes are to be recorded within 30 days of the Senate meeting, adding that ordinarily the minutes are prepared “during the course of proceedings or at best immediately on conclusion thereof, before the memory fades”. On Monday, the counsel representing Nahar had said the purported resolution on the basis of which the new DSWs have been given charge is not backed by the minutes of the August 22 Senate meeting.
“The record produced before the Court does not contain any such minutes either draft or approved,” the order reads, adding that even the video recording of the Senate proceedings is contrary to the record produced by the university.
Directing the PU to allow Nahar to continue as the DSW until the final decision of the Senate, the court said another factor in his favour is that the Syndicate — constituted by 15 members of which “Vice Chancellor is just one vote” — recommended his continuation by 14 votes in his favour.