The High Court of Chhattisgarh has set aside the search committee constituted for making recommendations for the post of Vice-Chancellor at the Chhattisgarh Kamdhenu Vishwavidyalaya.
The order was passed by Justice Sanjay K. Agrawal on a Petition filed by Dr Rajendra Kumar Bagherwal, who was one of the candidates who had applied for the post. He had alleged that the search committee constituted by the Chancellor violated provisions of Section 9(1) of the Chhattisgarh Kamdhenu Vishwavidyalaya Act, 2011.
The search committee comprised of Mr. Sarjaius Minj, nominee of the Chancellor; Dr. A.K. Mishra, nominee of the State Government; and Dr. P.D. Juyal, nominee of the Executive Council (EC) of the University. Mr. Bagherwal had initially challenged Dr. Juyal's nomination, pointing out that the EC had nominated him at a meeting which was chaired by one of the other candidates who had applied for the post.
During the pendency of the Petition, Dr. Mishra was also appointed as an EC member, after which his nomination as a member of the search committee was also challenged. To this end, Dr. Bagherwal had relied on Section 9(2) of the Act, which bars any person related to the University in any way from being a member of the search committee.
Agreeing with such contentions, the Court noted that the purpose of this prohibition was to ensure the nomination of a person who may act impartially, without any bias or favouritism.
Thereafter, the Court opined that Dr. Mishra's appointment to the EC would render him disqualified from being a member of the search committee, observing, "Thus, on the basis of the aforesaid discussion, it is held that the Chancellor has constituted a three-member committee consisting of Mr. Sarjaius Minj as Chairman; Dr. A.K. Mishra – respondent No.6 as Member; and Dr. P.D. Juyal – respondent No.5 as Member, by order dated 12-4-2017.
Thereafter, the Chancellor has appointed respondent No.6 as Member of the Executive Council by order dated 22-5-2017 which has been notified by the University on 7-6-2017 and thereby, respondent No.6 has incurred disqualification in terms of the proviso to sub-section (2) of Section 9 of the Act of 2011, as he has become a Member of the Executive Council which is an authority of the University (respondent No.1) within the meaning of Section 22(1) of the Act of 2011 and thereby, respondent No.6 has become disqualified to act as a member of the Search Committee and the said Search Committee made recommendation on 15-6-2017, as indicated in the affidavit filed on behalf of respondent No.2.
Therefore, the recommendation made by the Search Committee recommending three names for the post of Vice-Chancellor is in teeth of the proviso appended to subsection (2) of Section 9 of the Act of 2011."
The Court, therefore, set aside the constitution of the search committee as well as the recommendations made by it, leaving it open to the Chancellor to appoint a VC in accordance with the Act.