NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday said that the selection and appointment to the post of Vice-Chancellor should be through proper identification by a panel of three to five persons by a Search-cum-Selection Committee.
A bench of Justices M R Shah and M M Sundresh dismissed a petition filed by Prof Narendra Singh Bhandari, saying his appointment as V-C of Soban Singh Jeena University was rightly quashed and set aside by the Uttarakhand High Court.
The court noted that the appointment of the appellant as V-C was just contrary to Section 10 of the University Act, 2019 r/w Regulation 7.3.0 of the UGC Regulations, 2018.
As per the facts of the matter, only one name was placed before the State Government/the Chief Minister for approval.
"Before appointing the appellant as a Vice-Chancellor of the University, neither any advertisement was issued, nor the names were called for from the eligible meritorious candidates, nor his name was recommended by the Search-cum-Selection Committee, nor there was any search committee and therefore there was no occasion for the Search-cum-Selection Committee to recommend the panel of persons," the court noted.
The bench rejected Bhandari's claim that he was the most meritorious person that is why he was recommended to the post of V-C, saying it can't be so as his case was not compared with other candidates and the state government had no opportunity to do so.
Further, the court noted the appellant was not having the requisite minimum 10 years’ teaching experience as a Professor in the University, which is the requirement under the UGC Regulations, 2018.
It also recorded that the appellant rendered service as a professor for the period between 2009 to 2017 till he was appointed as member of the Uttarakhand Public Service Commission on October 7, 2017. He continued as a member of the Public Service Commission till August 13, 2020 when he was appointed as Vice-Chancellor of the University.
The court rejected his contention that while serving as a member of the Public Service Commission, he was supervising the PhD scholars and therefore the period during which he worked as a member of the Public Service Commission may be counted for the purpose of experience.
"Supervising the PhD scholars cannot be said to be having a teaching experience as a Professor in the University, which is the requirement," the bench said.
In his submission, the appellant finally contended that he is ready and willing to resign as Vice-Chancellor of the University, the court said he may do so if advised as it is ultimately for him to decide.
"However, the appointment of the appellant as Vice-Chancellor of the University is held to be illegal and de hors the statutory requirements under Section 10 of the University Act, 2019 r/w Regulation 7.3.0 of the UGC Regulations, 2018," the bench said.