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After the proposed Maharashtra Public Universities Act, 2015, could not be discussed during the winter session of the assembly due to ‘lack of time’, state education minister Vinod Tawde said that the state government would bring an ordinance for it. The ordinance is likely to be issued in the third week of January.
The draft of the proposed Act was placed in the assembly barely two days before the session concluded, and hence couldn’t be discussed upon. Though Tawde did not reveal any details regarding the ordinance, the announcement has created some flutter within academic circles. At present, administrative work in the universities are nearly suspended without bodies like the senate and management council.
“The term of the last ordinance ends on December 31. This means that after January, fresh elections can be conducted. But once the Bill is tabled, an ordinance cannot be proposed. If it is done, the step would surely be challenged in court,” said Sureshchandra Bhosale, former head of the law department at Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU).
Some academicians have termed the move as one which would have serious repercussions “Usually an ordinance is issued over a single subject or on some specific issues. It depends on how they interpret it. If they want to do it for the new Act, maybe it will be done considering the proposed Act as a single subject. But I would say bringing an ordinance at this stage is not advisable. It is a very complicated issue. That’s because once an ordinance is passed, it has to be approved within six months. After an ordinance is passed, sometimes one might take some action based on it like making some appointments. But later if this is not approved, since making an Act is not so easy, what happens to those appointments that had been made?” said a senior management official from SPPU.
Some educationists say that they are checking for the legality of such a move. “A Bill has already been referred to the joint select committee for discussion. Now at this stage, if they want to bring an ordinance, it has to be done on the old Act which is still in place. It’s debatable if an ordinance can be issued for a proposed Act which has already been tabled,” said Nandkumar Nikam, president of Pune Principals Forum.