HC clears decks for appointment of assistant professors - Hindustan Times
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HC clears decks for appointment of assistant professors

By, Patna
Apr 19, 2024 09:32 PM IST

The appointment process that started in 2020 has remained stalled for nearly four years, as it was challenged through several petitions on the excess of the limit prescribed for reservation and the backlog vacancies having not been determined.

The Patna High Court has cleared the decks for recruitment of assistant professors in the seriously understaffed state universities, with clear directions for preparation of university-wise reservation roster.

Patna high court (HT file)
Patna high court (HT file)

“There is no question of combining the vacancies in all universities for preparation of reservation roster and the direction to do so by the learned single-judge bench stands set aside. It has to be done separately, university-wise, subject-wise,” said the two-judge bench of Chief Justice K Vinod Chandran and Justice Harish Kumar. The order came Thursday evening.

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The bench observed that “while the direction to rework the reservation by the single judge bench is upheld, finding the determination of backlog vacancies as per the impugned advertisement to be flawed, we direct that it be done subject- wise, university-wise”.

The order is significant as the appointment process that started in 2020 has remained stalled for nearly four years, as it was challenged through several petitions on the excess of the limit prescribed for reservation and the backlog vacancies having not been determined.

The single-judge bench of Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma had in December 2022 stayed the appointment of assistant professors, being carried out by the Bihar State University Service Commission (BSUSC) since July 15 2021, due to ambiguity on reservation roster and issue of adjusting backlog vacancies.

BSUSC had advertised 4,638 vacancies of assistant professors in 52 subjects on September 23, 2020, just ahead of the announcement of state assembly elections. Till the HC stayed the appointment process, 461 candidates had been appointed.

The single-judge bench had specifically observed, while directing the reworking of backlog vacancies and also the reservations, after clubbing the entire vacancies advertised; that the persons already appointed would not be disturbed and they would be set off against either the backlog vacancies as per the reservation vacancies worked out and then, in the reservation vacancies of the instant selection.

The two-judge bench observed in its order that the “single-judge bench has merely protected their right to be adjusted in the reservation vacancies; either backlog or the extant ones, which is only a statement of the obvious. If they do not qualify necessarily, as per the new roster, either on merit or in the reservation category, they would be sent out”.

Bihar legislature had passed the Bihar State University Service Commission Act in 2017 to vest the power of recruitment back to the commission, which was earlier dissolved in 2007. Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Bihar government had constituted the Commission in February 2019.

BSUSC chairman Girish Choudhary said that the court’s order was welcome, as the appointment process would once again begin. “The government had gone into appeal and its contention that all universities cannot be clubbed has been upheld. We have already reworked the roster and submitted. Under the New Education Policy (NEP), teachers shortage is a big handicap in Bihar and with new appointments, the pressure will ease a bit,” he said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Arun Kumar is Senior Assistant Editor with Hindustan Times. He has spent two-and-half decades covering Bihar, including politics, educational and social issues.

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