In an unusual precedent, the Supreme Court has issued a show-cause notice to the Governor of Maharashtra, who is also the chancellor of all the universities in the state. The court was hearing a special leave petition (SLP) filed by RTI activist Sunil Mishra.
A division bench of justice RV Raveendran and justice AK Patnaik on March 18 issued notice to K. Sankaranarayanan. The bench said, “Issue notice to show cause why the matter should not be remanded for decision on merits.”
In his SLP, Mishra had alleged irregularities by 85 colleges under the Rashtra Sant Tukdoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Nagpur. The petition said the university had allowed 85 engineering colleges to let their students sit for examinations, despite them not having completed 180 days of studies as the colleges were not granted permission to start before the prescribed time limit under the Maharashtra Universities Act, 1994.
A faculty of the Central India Institute of Mass Communication, Nagpur, Mishra had approached the Supreme Court challenging the order of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court dismissing his petition challenging irregularities by 85 engineering colleges.
The Act prescribes that management must seek permission from the government to start a new college before the last day on October of the preceding year and the government has to grant permission before July 15 of the year in which new college is proposed to start. If permission is received after July 15, it will be acted upon only in the subsequent academic year. In the year 2006-07 and 2007-08, the state had granted permission to 40 and 45 engineering colleges respectively after July 15, Mishra said in his petition.
Engineering students were not allowed to sit for the examination, as they had not completed 180 days, a resolution was passed by the Board of Examination of the university in March 2007 granting them permission to appear in exams.
Alleging violation, Mishra made a representation to the vice- chancellor of the Nagpur University and then approached the HC. Following an adverse order, he filed another plea in the HC, which was rejected and he then approached the Supreme Court.