The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the Registrar of the National Law University, Delhi to place representations challenging the procedure adopted by the selection committee for making appointment the post of Vice Chancellor, for consideration before the University Chancellor.
The order has been passed by a single-Judge bench of Justice Jyoti Singh in a petition filed by Dr. Prasannanshu, currently working as a Professor at the University.
The Petitioner, through Advocate Karan Suneja had approached the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution alleging that the Selection Committee for Vice Chancellor did not call him for the selection process, despite the Petitioner fulfilling all the requirements for the said post.
As per the Petitioner's knowledge, the Committee met on 5 February 2020 and decided to call the applicants for an interaction on 25 February 2020. However, neither did the Petitioner receive any communication to be present in this interaction meeting nor did he get any letter highlighting reasons for rejection of his candidature, despite meeting the requirements enshrined in the advertisement inviting applications.
"The petitioner's right to be equally treated by the Selection committee has not been respected and he has been treated differently and as a necessary corollary he has been discriminated by the selection committee as the principle of intelligible differentia which is a part of Article 14 of the Constitution of India was not duly applied in this case. Hence, the procedure adopted by the Selection Committee is grossly illegal, arbitrary, unreasonable and not germane to the principle of intelligible differentia," the Petitioner thus submitted.
He submitted that no candidate would ordinarily apply for the post if he does not fulfil the minimum qualification criteria and therefore, in case of any conundrum in the mind of the members of the selection committee with respect to any candidates,
"it is in the interest of the concept of natural justice and equity that an opportunity and fair chance must be given by the selection committee to such candidates to present their views as to how they qualify or meet the minimum eligibility criteria."
It was averred that the Petitioner attempted to contact the University by sending a representation to the University Chancellor on June 3, 2020, seeking a transparent and fair opportunity to be called by the selection committee but, in vain.
The Petitioner had therefore challenged the selection procedure before the High Court. It was also alleged that the impugned procedure did not stipulate any "definitive process/ guideline" as to the manner in which the candidates were to be eliminated at the stage of shortlisting and the objectivity that was to be followed qua the same.
He had submitted,
"The procedure adopted by the selection committee of Respondent No.1 is arbitrary, illegal, and violates the Constitution, the UGC regulations on minimum qualifications for appointment of teachers and other academic staff in universities and colleges and measures for the maintenance of standards in higher education, 2018 as well as National Law University Delhi Act, 2007."
In view of these submissions, Justice Singh observed that since the matter is pending consideration with the Chancellor, the petition is "premature". He therefore ordered,
"Let the Registrar of Respondent No.2 place the representation before the Chancellor for consideration.
Needless to state that the order passed will be communicated to the Petitioner within a period of 3 days from the date of the decision."
The court further clarified that in case the Petitioner is aggrieved by the decision of the Chancellor, he shall be at liberty to take recourse to the remedies available to him in accordance with law.
The petitioner was represented by Advocate Karan Suneja.
The University was represented by Standing Counsel Sanjay Vashishtha and Mr. SD Sharma.
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