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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Delhi HC directs CVC to produce original vigilance record on Jamia VC

The record has to be placed before the court prior to September 22, according to the court order.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: August 4, 2021 9:58:28 am
Jamia Millia Islamia University Vice Chancellor Dr Najma Akhtar (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

Issuing notice to the Centre in an appeal challenging Dr Najma Akhtar’s appointment as Jamia Millia Islamia University Vice Chancellor, the Delhi High Court has directed the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to place the original record concerning her before it.

A single-bench in March had dismissed a petition challenging Akhtar’s appointment. The petition was filed last year by M Ehtesham-Ul-Haque, an alumnus of Jamia’s Faculty of Law. Ehtesham, through advocate Mobashshir Sarwar, has now filed an appeal against the single-bench decision.

One of the grounds taken in the case is that there was an adverse vigilance report submitted by the CVC against Akhtar, but the same was not taken into consideration by the Search-cum-Selection Committee. The CVC, which had initially denied clearance to Akhtar, had later revised its advice concerning her. According to the central government, such power is available to the CVC under the CVC manual.

The division bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher and Justice Talwant Singh in an order said, “As regards the aforesaid aspect, we would like to look at the original record of CVC, as to what were the ‘new facts’ that were brought to its notice, which led to reconsideration of the earlier advice, as regards Dr Najma Akhtar, in the first instance.”

The record has to be placed before the court prior to September 22, according to the court order.

The appeal challenging Akhtar’s appointment contends that the Search-cum-Selection Committee had to comprise persons of eminence in the sphere of higher education, and Justice (Retd) MSA Siddiqui, one of the members of the committee, did not fit the requirement. It also argues the committee was required to give reasons for selecting Akhtar, and MHRD had no role to play in recommending the persons to be included in the committee.

Sarwar, the petitioner’s counsel, submitted before the court that MHRD had recommended the name of Professor D P Singh, Chairman, UGC along with the name Professor (Retd) K K Aggarwal, former Vice-Chancellor, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi (GGSIPU) for consideration of the Visitor of JMI to enable him to constitute the Search-cum-Selection Committee.

The government, in response, has argued that Siddiqui was eminently fit to be part of the committee in view of his previous experience as the Chairperson of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institution. It has also argued that no reasons are required to be given by the committee for recommending a panel consisting of suitable names.

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