JNU VC Could Not Have Exercised Powers To Appoint Chairpersons Of 9 Centres : Delhi High Court Restrains Them From Taking Major Decisions

Update: 2021-11-03 04:07 GMT

The Delhi High Court has prima facie observed that the Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University could not have exercised the power to appoint chairpersons to 9 special centres and restrained them from taking major decisions during the pendency of the petitions challenging their appointments.A division bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher and Justice Talwant Singh was hearing an...

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The Delhi High Court has prima facie observed that the Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University could not have exercised the power to appoint chairpersons to 9 special centres and restrained them from taking major decisions during the pendency of the petitions challenging their appointments.

A division bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher and Justice Talwant Singh was hearing an appeal against an interlocutory order dated 28.09.2021 passed by the single judge wherein it had declined to stay the appointment of nine professors who were appointed as Chairpersons of various Special Centres by the VC.

Advocate Abhik Chimni appearing on behalf of the appellant submitted that the exercise of power by JNU VC was in complete violation of Statute 18(2)(c)(I) of the Statutes of the University under the JNU Act for the reason that the power of appointment of Chairperson of Special Centres has been expressly conferred on the Executive Council.

It was also submitted that the Executive Council could not have ratified the appointments at its 296th meeting held on 02.09.2021.

On the other hand, Advocate Monika Arora appearing for the respondents submitted that the appointments were made by the VC in exercise of power conferred on him under Statute 4(5) of the Statutes of the University.

Observing that the power of appointment qua Chairpersons of Special Centres has been expressly conferred upon the Executive Council, and not the VC, the bench said:

"Therefore, prima facie, respondent no.2 could not have exercised the power to appoint Chairpersons of Centres/Special Centres."

The Court was also of the view that the Vice- Chancellor can exercise the powers in a situation where immediate action is required which thereafter is reported to the concerned authority for obtaining its approval.

In view of this, the bench observed thus:

"Therefore, prima facie, the respondents were put to notice that the course on which they were proceeding was, perhaps, not the correct course. Despite this, respondent no.2, it appears, went on to appoint the Chairpersons of the concerned Centres/Special Centres."
"Given the aforesaid position, we are prima facie of the view that respondent no.2 is not vested with the power to appoint Chairpersons of Centres/Special Centres. The Statute confers the power of appointment on the Executive Council. Thus, clearly the appointment of Chairpersons of Centres/Special Centres by respondent no.2 is, as is evident at this stage, prima facie, without authority."

However, noting that Special Centres need Chairpersons for effective functioning, the Court directed the single judge before whom the petitions challenging the appointments were pending to advance the hearing and listed the same for directions on 10.11.2021.

"Pending decision in the writ petition, the nine (9) Chairpersons, who have been appointed, and whose names are set out in Annexure P21 of the case file i.e., Minutes of the 296th meeting of the Executive Council, will not take any major decisions, including functions relating to convening of selection committees and/or carrying out selection(s), concerning the Centres/ special centres," the Court added.

Title: ATUL SOOD v. JAWAHARLAL NEHRU UNIVERSITY THROUGH REGISTRAR & ANR.

Click Here To Read Order 


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