Playing down a possible face-off with the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), the HRD on Wednesday clarified that it would not interfere in the selection of directors at the top business schools.
"The practice of selecting directors through search-cum-selection committees has not been discontinued," the ministry said in a statement.
The clarification followed a newspaper advertisement placed by the ministry inviting applications for the post of director at three IIMs.
Three directors - Bakul H Dholakia of IIM-Ahmedabad, Prakash Apte of IIM-Bangalore and Shekhar Choudhury of IIM-Kolkata - are set to retire in the next three months.
"For the selection of the forthcoming vacancies, in order to ensure a more broadbased and transparent procedure, the posts have also been widely advertised," the statement said.
It added that the "search-cum-selection committee would be free to go beyond the applications received in response to the advertisements", considering that some eminent academics may not wish to apply in response to the advertisement.
The ministry has been at loggerhead with the IIMs over implementation of 27 per cent quota for other backward classes (OBCs).
Earlier this year, it had warned the IIMs, which are autonomous institutions, to follow its directives or else face action.
The reservation law for OBCs is yet to be implemented as the Supreme Court has stayed its implementation.