A year-and-a-half after his appointment as vice-chancellor of the University of Mumbai, an aspect of Rajan Welukar’s eligibility will be re-examined by the Search Committee, set up for shortlisting candidates for the post.
The decision came in response to two public interest litigations challenging Welukar’s appointment as vice chancellor of Mumbai University.
The PIL petitioners, social workers Niteen Deshpande and Vasant Ganu Patil, and AD Sawant, former vice chancellor of Rajasthan University, had questioned the appointment before a division bench last year, contending Welukar did not fulfill requisite eligibility, and therefore could not have been appointed as vice chancellor.
While chief justice Mohit Shah had found no fault with Welukar’s appointment and had rejected all the contentions, justice Girish Godbole had held that at least one of the mandatory qualifications was required reconsideration by the Search Committee — whether Welukar had to his credit minimum five research publications in peer-reviewed or referred international research journal after PhD.
Following the split verdict delivered on June 16 last year, a reference was sent for determination to justice SJ Vajifdar. The third judge, on Wednesday, partly concurred with the view taken by justice Godbole and held that the aspect of five research publications was required to be re-examined by the Search Committee, headed by professor AS Kolaskar, vice chancellor, KIIT University, Bhubaneshwar and comprising of professor P Balaram, director, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and JS Saharia, principal secretary, relief and rehabilitation.
The Search Committee had first shortlisted 20 candidates from the list of 98 applicants, and ultimately recommended five names, including that of Welukar, to the governor for appointment as vice chancellor. Now, the court is likely to take the final decision about Welukar’s appointment after receiving the committee’s report on the issue.