Plea against V-C turned into PIL
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday converted the petition filed by a Thane-based environmentalist, challenging Dr Rajan Welukar’s appointment as vice-chancellor of Mumbai University, into a public interest litigation.mumbai Updated: Sep 16, 2010 03:10 IST
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday converted the petition filed by a Thane-based environmentalist, challenging Dr Rajan Welukar’s appointment as vice-chancellor of Mumbai University, into a public interest litigation.
The division bench of Justice B.H. Marlapalle and Justice Amjad Sayed observed that the petition was filed in public interest, as the petitioner — Nitin Deshpande — was never a candidate for the post.
Deshpande has challenged Welukar’s appointment on the grounds that he lacks basic qualifications required to hold the post of a vice-chancellor.
The environmentalist has contended in his petition that though Welukar had been vice-chancellor of Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University, he had never held a substantive post of a professor or principal, and was a mere lecturer.
According to recent guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC), the vice-chancellor of any university must be a distinguished academician with a minimum of 10 years’ experience as professor in a university system, or similar experience in a reputed research and/or academic administrative organisation.
However, according to the petitioner, Welukar did not fulfill any of the objective qualifications and therefore shouldn’t have been appointed in the first place.
"He is neither an approved under-graduate/post-graduate having 15 years’ teaching experience nor a PhD guide," stated Deshpande’s petition.
"As he has not been a professor, Welukar cannot justify his duties at the University of Mumbai, which regularly imparts higher education, conducts training and research," stated the petition.
"He shall not be in a position to do justice to important functions a vice-chancellor is required to look into," the petition added.
Deshpande further pointed out that section 13(2) of the Maharashtra Universities Act, 1994, requires a vice-chancellor to be a professor or a principal, but Welukar is neither.
The petitioner feels that the University Grants Commission may withhold all grants given to University of Mumbai for violating guidelines issued in June 2010 for appointment of vice-chancellors.
Deshpande’s petition is now likely to come up before another division bench, which hears public interest litigations.