The Delhi High Court has quashed the appointment of the director of Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (NSIT), a state government-funded establishment. The court has also declared the advertisement, issued for the appointment in 2016, “illegal”.
The NSIT had, in November 2016, issued an advertisement seeking applications for the post of director. The advertisement maintained that “the candidate must possess a doctorate degree in any field of engineering, technology and specialisation in any of the areas of endeavour of the institute.
The candidate should have worked for at least 10 years as Professor/equivalent”. Challenging the last clause — which maintained that those who apply must have 10 years of experience as professor — aspirant Sachin Maheshwari, a professor at the institute, had moved court. Maheshwari, with an experience of nine years and eight months, had, in his petition, stated that the experience clause was in violation of the terms of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) rules and was, in fact, added after being approved by the president of NSIT, the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. In July 2017, professor J P Saini joined as the director.
As per AICTE rules, a person working as a professor for at least three years, and with a total experience of at least 10 years, can be appointed as the director. The pay band approved by the AICTE for the post is between Rs 37,000 and Rs 67,000. However, the NSIT and the government had stated that the qualification clause was added by virtue of the NSIT Bill, passed in the Delhi Assembly. As per the Bill, the pay band for the post is Rs 67,000-79,000.
The Bill was passed in 2016 and sent to the President of India for his approval. The President, however, sent it back to the government, asking them to reconsider certain things. In his petition, Maheshwari said: “As the post of director was lying vacant, an advertisement was issued for the said post by Director, NSIT on behalf of the Board of Directors, NSIT and not by the Chairman, Board of Governors, as has been done in the past…”
While hearing the plea, the Delhi High Court termed the advertisement “illegal” since it was not approved by the Board of Governors. The court also pulled up the institute, which stated that at the time, the post of chairman for the Board of Governors was vacant.
The court observed, “The President is empowered to annul any proceedings of the Institute, which is not in conformity of the Rules and Regulations of the Institute. Rule 22(b) empowers the Chairman to exercise all powers of the Board of Governors and inform the Board of Governors of the action taken for its approval in the next meeting. Rule 22(c) relates to Director. From the reading of the aforesaid provisions of the Rules, it is clear that the power to make appointments to all Group A posts lies with the Board of Governors. The power includes framing, classification and method of appointment and determination of the terms and conditions of service.”