Even as the Punjab advocate general has termed the appointment of renowned industrialist Chander Mohan as the Punjab Technical University (PTU) board of governors (BoG) chairman against the rules, the outgoing chairman-cum-chief secretary Rakesh Singh is likely to recommend a new panel of candidates to the chancellor-cum-Punjab governor for fresh appointment to the top slot.
HT was the first to highlight the “discrepancies” in Mohan’s appointment as chairman after Punjab governor Shivraj Patil cleared the file on the recommendation of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal recently.
“Mohan is not eligible to become the PTU board chairman since he has already availed two terms as its member. The post of chairman is also covered under the definition of a member of the BoG as per the PTU act,” Ashok Aggarwal, advocate general, told Hindustan Times over phone.
The PTU act mandated that the BoG members were to be appointed for three years and they were eligible for re-appointment for another term of the same period.
While Rakesh Singh was not available for comment, SS Channi, principal secretary, technical education and industrial training, said no decision was taken on the advocate general’s legal opinion about Mohan’s appointment. “We have received the file, but the final decision is yet to be taken,” he added.
Interestingly, the state government is not entitled to interfere in the selection of candidates for the chairmanship, but the file carrying probables’ names, including that of Mohan, was not only allegedly cleared by technical education minister Anil Joshi but was also approved by Badal in violation of the PTU act.
Interestingly, the law mandated that the chairman would be appointed by the chancellor out of a panel of persons of national eminence in the field of industry, technology or technical education for a term of three years on the recommendations of the outgoing chairman.
Mohan, a former chairman of Punjab Tractors Limited, had already served as BoG member on three consecutive terms despite being eligible to hold the post for two terms only.
Interestingly, Patil had returned the file pertaining to BoG’s re-constitution last year, asking the state government to re-examine its proposal to extend the fourth term in a row to Mohan as member after the board’s term expired on June 6, 2011. The governor had quoted the PTU act for rejecting the fourth term to Mohan.
The state government reconsidered the issue and “dropped” Mohan’s name in the revised list of board members sent to the governor again after obtaining legal opinion from the then legal remembrance.
Earlier, JK Anand, president of Jalandhar-based Anti-Corruption Society, had challenged the alleged irregularities in appointing staffers and selection of the then chief secretary SC Agrawal as the board chairman.
The high court, on November 14, 2011, had restrained the PTU and its BoG from making any appointment without its specific permission.