The Delhi High Court has quashed the appointment of Delhi University professor and historian Mahesh Rangarajan as the Director of the prestigious Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Society on grounds of violation of rules and has ordered a fresh selection process.
Rangarajan, who took charge on August 9 after professor Mridula Mukherjee’s term ended, has, however, been allowed to continue till then. The court has also not barred the society from selecting him again if he is found to be the best suitable candidate.
“Procedure adopted by the society in appointing Rangarajan is held to be in violation of the prescribed procedure and the law”, Justice RS Endlaw ruled on Friday, allowing a petition filed by Sri Krishan, an aspirant to the post, challenging the appointment.
Terming the appointment “vitiated”, the petitioner informed the court that neither an advertisement was published nor the vacancy was notified in the employment exchange as a result of which many qualified people could not apply. The society defended itself by saying that a search-cum-selection committee had invited recommendations
from 45 universities and prominent individuals, and this included petitioner’s university as well which itself “did not consider it worthy to recommend his name”.
The court, however, said this cannot be a substitute for open advertisement as all prospective applicants were not intimated and allowed to apply. “It would restrict the choice of applicants and constitute discrimination”, the judge said.