Illegal Appointment- SC Sets Aside Appointment Of Vice Chancellor Of Abdul Kalam University, Thiruvananthapuram
The Supreme Court has quashed and set aside the appointment of Dr. Rajasree M.S. as Vice Chancellor of the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, Thiruvananthapuram.
The bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice CT Ravikumar observed that the appointment of Dr. Rajasree M.S. on the basis of the recommendations made by the Search Committee, was not a duly constituted Search Committee as per the UGC Regulations.
"…the appointment of respondent No. 1 on the basis of the recommendations made by the Search committee, which was not a duly constituted Search Committee as per the UGC Regulations and when only one name was recommended in spite of panel of suitable candidates (3-5 suitable persons as required under Section 13(4) of the University Act, 2015), the appointment of respondent No. 1 can be said to be illegal and void ab initio, and, therefore, the writ of quo warranto was required to be issued.", the bench noted.
The appellant herein – original writ petitioner preferred the writ petition before the Single Judge of the Kerala High Court for writ of quo warranto to declare the appointment of Dr. Rajasree M.S. as Vice Chancellor of the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, Thiruvananthapuram as void ab initio. However the Single Judge refused to issue writ of quo warranto to declare the appointment of the Vice Chancellor as void ab initio. The appeal before the Division Bench also came to be dismissed.
Senior Advocate Amith George appeared for the Appellant whereas Senior Advocate Jaideep Gupta appeared on behalf of the State.
The Court observed that "…any appointment as a Vice Chancellor made on the recommendation of the Search Committee, which is constituted contrary to the provisions of the UGC Regulations shall be void ab initio. If there is any conflict between the State legislation and the Union legislation, the Union law shall prevail even as per Article 254 of the Constitution of India to the extent the provision of the State legislation is repugnant."
The Court noted that as per the UGC Regulations, 2013 – Clause 7.3.0, the selection of the Vice Chancellor should be through proper identification of a panel of 3-5 names by a Search Committee and the members of the Search Committee shall be persons of eminence in the sphere of higher education and shall not be connected in any manner with the university concerned or its colleges.
The Court observed that "In the present case, admittedly the only name of respondent No. 1 was recommended to the Chancellor. As per the UGC Regulations also, the Visitor/Chancellor shall appoint the Vice Chancellor out of the panel of names recommended by the Search Committee. Therefore, when only one name was recommended and the panel of names was not recommended, the Chancellor had no option to consider the names of the other candidates."
Therefore the Court held the appointment of the Vice Chancellor to be dehors and/or contrary to the provisions of the UGC Regulations as well as even to the University Act, 2015.
Accordingly the order passed by the Division Bench of the High Court as well as that of the Single Judge dismissing the writ petition and refusing to issue the writ of quo warranto declaring the appointment of the Vice Chancellor of the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, Thiruvananthapuram as bad in law and/or illegal and void ab initio were quashed and set aside.
Cause Title- Professor (Dr.) Sreejith P.S. v. Dr. Rajasree M.S. & Ors.