There are no specific eligibility conditions for appointing vice-chancellors of universities in the state. This was made clear in an affidavit filed by a search committee, which shortlisted five candidates for the post of vice-chancellor of the University of Mumbai before the Bombay high court recently.
Kakshman Amarnathan, the committee’s nodal officer filed the affidavit in response to a petition filed by AD Sawant, vice-chancellor, University of Rajasthan, challenging the appointment of Rajan Welukar as vice-chancellor of the Mumbai University.
The committee, headed by professor AS Kolaskar, vice-chancellor, KIIT University, Bhubaneshwar had shortlisted five names from a list of 98 applicants.
Governor K Shankarnarayanan had personally interviewed all the five shortlisted candidates and thereafter selected Rajan Welukar, states the affidavit.
The affidavit also said that in view of the amendment to section 12 of the Maharashtra Universities Act, 1994, which lays down the procedure for appointment of vice-chancellors, there are no specific eligibility conditions for appointment of authorities in universities.
It adds that it is considered expedient to insert a new section — 24A in the MU Act — with a view to empower the state government to specify the eligibility conditions for the appointment of any authority (including vice chancellors) of universities.
In the affidavit, Amarnathan denied allegations that Welukar was appointed in an arbitrary and capricious manner. The affidavit further denies allegations made by Sawant that, provisions of the MU Act and guidelines for appointment of the vice-chancellor were flouted.
A Thane-based social worker, Niteen Deshpande, has also challenged Welukar’s appointment by questioning the qualifications and achievements cited by him in his bio-data. The petitions are likely to come up for hearing before a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and justice Girish Godbole on June 15.