The Patna high court on Friday set aside the appointment of six vice-chancellors and four pro-vice chancellors made by Bihar governor on August 1 last year, in his capacity as the chancellor of universities.
The court also set a month's deadline for the completion of the process of making new appointments to these posts.
The verdict was widely seen as a blow to chancellor Devanand Konwar, who had consistently justified these appointments. It was also seen as a vindication of the Nitish Kumar government's stand that due processes had not been followed in the matter.
The VCs, whose appointment has been struck down, are Patna University VC Shambhunath Singh, BRABU University (Muzaffarpur) VC Bimal Kumar, who holds the additional charge of TM Bhagalpur University, Jai Prakash University (Chapra) VC Ramvinod Singh, BN Mandal University (Madhepura) VC Arun Kumar, who holds the additional charge of Magadh University (Gaya) and Nalanda Open University, Mazhrul Haque Arabic and Persian University (Patna) VC Md. Samsuzoha and Kameshwar Singh Sanskrit University (Datbhanga) VC Arvind Kumar Pandey.
The four pro-VCs who are also facing the heat in the wake of the court order are PU pro-VC JP Singh, BN Mandal University pro-VC PK Verma, Lalit Narayan Mishra University pro-VC KP Singh and Mazhrul Haque Arabic and Persian University pro-VC Sultana K Jabin.
A division bench comprising chief justice Rekha M Doshit and justice A Amanullah passed the order on the ground that the chancellor had made these appointments without consulting the state government as required under section 10 (2) of the Bihar state universities act, 1976 and the Patna university act, 1976.
The court directed the government to prepare a fresh list of candidates for appointment of the six VCs and four Pro-VCs within a week, for the chancellor's consideration.
It has also dealt in detail about the process to be adopted as per the provisions laid down in the two acts governing the universities. The Patna high court had reserved its order in the case in August, 2012 after completing the hearing.
The court order came in response to a PIL filed by professor Janardan Singh and Ram Tawakya Singh challenging the appointments.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court, while disposing of the two special leave petitions (SLPs) - Praveen Kumar vs Ram Tavakya Singh and Arun Kumar and others vs Ram Tavakya Singh, had directed the Patna high court to decide the matter concerning the 10 appointment on merit, within four months.
Education minister PK Shahi said that the law had been upheld by the order. "I am happy," he added.
Chancellor Devanand Konwar could not be contacted for his reaction as he was away in Delhi. "He will comment only after seeing the order", said an official close to him.