Delhi HC Issues Notice On Plea To Remove NLU-Delhi Registrar [Read Petition And NLU-D's Response]
The Delhi High Court today issued notices on a plea seeking the removal of National Law University, Delhi Registrar GS Bajpai.
The petition filed by public interest litigants Ashok Kumar Jain and Nitish Bharadwaj alleges that the Registrar of NLU-Delhi, GS Bajpai, was not qualified to be appointed as such and that ever since his wrongful appointment, he had been abusing the public office by adopting nepotism in appointment of teaching and non-teaching staff at the University.
"That the rampant abuse of public office and nepotism in admission and appointment in public University and the manifest unwillingness of the executive to take requisite action in order to ensure that the culprits are punished and transparency in public offices are maintained, gravely impairs the right of the people to live in a transparent and fair society. This violates Article 14, 16 and 21 of the Constitution. The right to life guaranteed to the people also includes in its fold the right to live in a society that is free, fair and transparent," the plea read.
As per the Petitioners, the University had notified the vacancy for 'Professor of Law' and the incumbent Registrar was selected for the position by the Vice Chancellor, notwithstanding that he did not hold the minimum qualification for such appointment, i.e., LLM/PhD in Law, as prescribed under 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, 2010.
Subsequently, he was named the Registrar, in complete disregard to the statutory prescription under Section 21(1) of NLU-D Act, 2007, which mandates that a Registrar must be a 'Professor of Law'. It was submitted that since the Registrar was not competent to be appointed as a Professor of Law, his appointment as a Registrar was also unsound.
The Petitioners further attempted to discredit the Registrar by pointing out that earlier he was a Professor at NLIU, Bhopal and was expelled there from on serious grounds of misconduct and corruption.
The Petitioners then submitted that ever since his appointment, the Registrar, in collusion with the VC, had been abusing his powers in respect of admission process for, LL.M. and Ph.D., appointments of teaching and non-teaching staff.
They pointed out that the Registrar facilitated admission of his daughter to the LL.M. course in the University, through unfair means. It was alleged that being the Convener of governing Committee/ Centre for Post Graduate Legal Studies (CPGLS) of LLM Course, the Registrar manipulated the results of LL.M. 2018, and eventually, his daughter pursued Ph.D as well from the University and was appointed as a guest faculty at the University.
He was also alleged to have chaired the Selection Committee for appointment of Communications Manager, which appointed his niece to the position; that too without any public notification in newspaper for inviting applications for the post.
On these grounds, the Petitioners prayed that the Vice Chancellor must be made answerable for appointing an incompetent Professor of Law cum Registrar. Further, it was prayed that the Registrar, his daughter and his niece should be directed to vacate their respective offices.
The Petitioners have also asked the court to direct the University to take admissions through an independent agency like that of the CLAT Consortium or any other independent agency.
ASG Maninder Acharya and Advocate Advocate Sanjay Vashishtha, appeared for NLUD and alleged that the PIL is motivated inasmuch the applications for the VC has been invited and the registrar is the potential candidate. Registrar was appointed in 2014 and the PIL has been timed along the applications for the VC ship.
The Petitioners were represented by Advocate Misbahul Haque.
PRESS NOTE December 01st, 2019
This Press Note is being released in the institutional interest on behalf of The National Law University, Delhi in light of recent reporting of an alleged Public Interest Litigation titled as 'Ashok Kumar Jain and Anr. v. National Law University Delhi and Ors' W.P.(C)No. 12533/2019 by the news media concerning allegations inter alia pertaining to nepotism etc.
The following points are pertinent to be bought into public domain vis-à-vis the allegations in the aforesaid petition for transparency and to uphold the institutional legitimacy and credibility.
1. That the matter is sub-judis before the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi and the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi was pleased to issue notices to file a reply in the aforesaid matter. Our legal team is filing a comprehensive reply with supporting documents and this press note by no means is to be construed as a rebuttal to the allegations inasmuch this is merely for public awareness. The allegations in the alleged PIL are completely baseless and motivated by vested interests.
2. The appointment of Prof G.S. Bajpai, the present Registrar is transparent and strictly in furtherance to the rules and bylaws of the University. Professor Bajpai was appointed the Registrar in the year 2014 in furtherance to Rule 6(3) of NLUD Regulation. Prof Bajpai was appointed as a Professor of Law & Development in the year 2007 at NLIU Bhopal (much prior to joining of NLUD as Professor of Criminology & Criminal Justice) and meets all the necessary conditions as per UGC Regulations.
3. That vis-à-vis the allegations pertaining to the daughter of Prof Bajpai being admitted to LL.M and PhD it is declared that he had voluntarily recused from the entire selection process and the documentary evidences shall be put before the Hon'ble Court. It is also stated that his daughter could not clear the entrance in first attempt and had to reappear. She has never been appointed as Gest faculty as claimed in the petition.
4. That vis-à-vis the allegations pertaining to one individual being appointed to a temporary position inasmuch she is the 'niece' of Prof Bajpai it is stated that the same is completely false and concocted allegation. We have obtained the entire family pedigree of the said candidate and our team is working to file perjury against the filing of a false affidavit before the Hon'ble Court. Prof Bajpai has absolutely no past or present relation to the individual concerned.
5. That the University has upheld highest standards of transparency and accountability at all fronts. The PIL is motivated by an individual against whom an inquiry has been contemplated and suspension orders have been issued on account of misconduct to malign the University and its administration. The appropriate legal actions including defamation suit are already underway in this case.