HC restrains chairpersons from taking major decisions.
The division bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher and Justice Talwant Singh said that the power to appoint chairpersons is expressly conferred upon the executive council and not the vice-chancellor. Rejecting the varsity’s argument that the VC had exercised the powers under Statue 4(5) of the Statute of the university, the court said that the VC can exercise such powers only when immediate action is required “on account of emergent situation”, which then is reported to the concerned authority for obtaining its approval.
Observing that Sood had objected to the agenda for the 296th meeting of the executive council and informed the latter that the appointments made by the VC are flawed, the court said therefore prima facie the authorities were put to notice that the course on which they were proceeding was perhaps not the correct one.
“Despite this, respondent no.2 (VC), it appears, went on to appoint the Chairpersons of the concerned Centres/Special Centres,” reads the order.
The division bench also noted a submission made by Sood’s counsel Abhik Chimni that after a single bench of the high court refused to stay the nine appointments made by the VC, he went ahead with the appointment of another person as chairperson of Centre of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Latin American Studies/School of Language, Literature & Cultural Studies on October 08, again exercising the emergency powers vested in him.
Observing that the vice-chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is not vested with the power to appoint chairpersons of centres, the Delhi High Court has restrained the nine chairpersons appointed by Prof M Jagadesh Kumar from taking any major decisions, including those relating to the convening of selection committees or carrying out selections concerning the centres or special centres.
The division bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher and Justice Talwant Singh said that the power to appoint chairpersons is expressly conferred upon the executive council and not the VC.
“Therefore, prima facie, respondent no.2 could not have exercised the power to appoint Chairpersons of Centres/Special Centres,” said the court, adding that the appointments made by the VC prima facie are without authority.
The court was hearing a matter relating to the appointment of professors as chairpersons of the centres or special centres by the VC. Professor Atul Sood has approached the court with a petition challenging the approval granted by the executive council to the nine appointments made by the VC. It has been argued before the court that the appointments cannot emanate from the VC.
Written by: Ananya Kaushal