The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday said it would not let Centre bring Panjab University (PU) on the verge of closure by sitting on financial grants to the varsity. The court was hearing a suo motu petition — initiated last month — following PU vice-chancellor AK Grover’s statement that the varsity may close down due to lack of funds and also reportedly stating that it was controlled by the ‘mafia’.
“The university could default in the making of payment of salaries and pensions during the last three months of 2016-17,” said a 183-page compilation that the varsity submitted at the hearing, where the V-C was present.
Appearing for PU, senior advocate Girish Agnihotri had argued that if funds were not released, the PU would default in payment of salaries and pensions after December 31, 2016.
What the HC said
No interim directions were issued in this regard, but the high division bench of justices SS Saron and Lisa Gill castigated the Centre and said that it was fed up with its handling of issues concerning Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.
“You have made us believe this (that these states and its institutions are met with step-motherly treatment)... this reinforces our views that you treat us (these states) as colonies,” the bench remarked, referring to petitions pending on food grain procurement and subsidy etc.
The HC bench said that the Centre could not close down the university by suffocating it by not releasing funds. “Where will the students go? (Will they go) ..To Manipal University?...the high court will not let it go (won’t allow closure of PU),”
the division bench said as counsel appearing for the Centre pleaded for adjournment due to non-availability of additional solicitor general, Satya Pal Jain for hearing.
However, the division bench refused to issue interim directions to the Centre for release of funds, stating that the Centre would respond on the adjourned date on November 7.