The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday restrained Punjab Technical University (PTU), Jalandhar, vice-chancellor Rajneesh Arora from taking any major decisions till October 10.
A division bench, comprising justice Satish Kumar Mittal and justice Arun Palli, issued the directions on a petition challenging the order of the single bench that had dismissed the petition challenging Arora’s appointment and further extension of service to him.
Taking up the petition filed by NP Singh, former PTU dean of distance education, the bench issued a notice for October 20 and “restrained the vice-chancellor from taking any major decisions with regard to affairs of the university”.
The court has issued notice to the Punjab government; principal secretary, technical education and industrial training; principal secretary, finance; PTU registrar; PTU board of governors (BoGs); and Arora.
The petitioner had questioned Arora’s appointment to the V-C’s post in 2008 and the three-year extension granted to him in 2011.
Singh had challenged Arora’s appointment for the second term beginning 2011, saying he was not eligible as per the “UGC regulations of minimum qualifications and standards” notified in 2010, nor was the procedure as laid down in the PTU Act followed.
Singh said that at the meeting of BoGs in October 2011, an extension to the vice-chancellor was recommended for a second term even without checking his eligibility, and subsequently, an order was issued by the Punjab governor in November 2011.
Singh said that as Arora was ineligible in keeping with the University Grants Commission (UGC) regulations issued in June 2010, the actions taken by him during his extended tenure should be declared null and void.
As per the UGC notification, a minimum of 10 years’ experience as professor or in an equivalent position is mandatory for the post of the V-C.
It was submitted that Arora was granted extension in violation of the procedure prescribed under the PTU Act. Neither a search committee was constituted, nor did the claims of any other eligible person in the field of technical education considered. Even Arora’s bio-data was not put up before the BoGs as the matter was not on the agenda, it was alleged. The petitioner said he was eligible for the post but had been overlooked since Arora had been “illegally” granted extension.