Whose appointments has the Supreme Court quashed?
Those of 10 VCs and eight pro-VCs of universities in Bihar.
What were the grounds for doing so?
A bench of Justices G S Sighvi and V Gopala Gowda held that the appointments,made by then Bihar governor Devanand Konwar as chancellor,were not only illegal but also contemptuous. It said these were made without an effective consultation with the state government and in contemptuous disregard of orders passed by the Patna High Court. The Supreme Court also took objection to the chancellor selecting two VCs and one pro-VC despite the fact they were facing prosecution under the IPC,SC/ST Act and Prevention of Corruption Act.
How had the governor made the appointments?
Konwar began by preparing a panel without consulting the state government over the names. According to the governments complaint,this went against a precedent set for the past few years. According to Konwar,it was the chancellor who was authorised to take the final call on such appointments under the provisions of the Bihar Universities Act,1976,and the Patna University Act,1976. The governments objection was that its duty was not just to give grants to universities but also to be part of their administrative process. The governor took it as an attempt to infringe upon the powers of Raj Bhavan.
How did the government respond?
It seized the financial powers and withheld the salaries of the first two VCs Konwar appointed Arvind Kumar (Magadh University,Bodhgaya) and Subhash Prasad Sinha (V K A University,Ara),in April 2010. The government moved the Patna High Court,which in 2011 declared the two appointments void. In August that year,after the governor appointed six VCs and two pro-VCs,again without consulting the government,the latter went again to the high court,which seized the financial powers of the VCs through a September 2011 order.
How did the VCs respond?
They filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court in 2012 but it was sent back to the high court. The high court in December 2012 set aside all appointments and asked the chancellor to prepare a fresh panel and send it to the government.
Did the governor comply?
In early 2013,he did send a panel to the state government. The latter objected to the names suggested,but the governor went ahead with the selections and appointed them with a series of notifications,with the last coming just before his tenure ended earlier this year.
What happens now?
The Supreme Court has asked for adherence to appointments under UGC guidelines and ordered the constitution of a search committee that should make recommendations to the chancellor,who will prepare a panel candidates and then consult the government. The appointing authority has been given three months to complete the process. In Raj Bhawan,the governors ADC,Shivdeep Lande,said they would make the 18 selections from among the names shortlisted by the search committee.
Shambunath Singh (Patna University)
Arun Kumar (Magadh University,Bodhgaya)
Vimal Kumar (J P University,Chhapra)
Ramvinod Singh (B N Mandal University,Madhepura)
Shiv Shankar Singh (V K S University,Ara)
Kumaresh Prasad Singh (B R A Bihar University,Muzaffarpur)
Arvind Pandey (K S D Sanskrit University,Darbhanga)
Shamshuzoha (M M H Arabic-Persian University,Patna)
Anjani Kumar Sinha (Tilka Manjhi University,Bhagalpur)
Tapan Kumar Sandilya (Nalanda Open University)
Raja Ram (Patna University)
Ramayan Prasad (Magadh University)
Padmasha Jha (B R A Bihar)
D N Mishra (B N Mandal)
Sultana K Jabin (M M H Arabic and Persian)
S K Singh (J P)
Anwar Imam (V K S)
V K Singh (K S D Sanskrit)