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HC paves way for Maharashtra varsities to get their budgets approved before polls

In an interim order, the division bench of justices Abhay Oka and MS Sanklecha put a stay on the government’s directive to defer varsities’ senate’s budget meetings, slated for this month, to avoid violation of the model code of conduct (MCC).

mumbai Updated: Mar 28, 2019 11:10 IST
Musab Qazi
Musab Qazi
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
bombay HC,maharashtra universities,maharashtra universities budget
The University of Mumbai and all other Maharashtra varsities have been given the go-ahead by the Bombay HC to get their annual budgets approved before the Lok Sabha elections. (HT File )

The Bombay high court (HC) on Wednesday allowed all state universities, including the University of Mumbai (MU), to get their annual budgets approved before the Lok Sabha polls. This will allow them to clear the budgets before the next financial year.

In an interim order, the division bench of justices Abhay Oka and MS Sanklecha put a stay on the government’s directive to defer varsities’ senate’s budget meetings, slated for this month, to avoid violation of the model code of conduct (MCC).

The court was responding to a petition filed on Tuesday by three elected senate members, one each from Savitribai Phule Pune University, MU and Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey (SNDT) Women’s University.

The petitioners – Bageshree Manthalkar, Neel Halekar and Nilesh Thakre – are also members of Vidyapeeth Vikas Manch, a forum floated by Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a student organisation with Bharatiya Janta Party’s (BJP) .

They challenged the state’s decision, arguing that delaying budget approval will affect students. “Many academic activities are required to be started before commencement of the academic year and non-sanction of the budget will adversely affect academic interests of students at large,” read the petition.

The petitioner argued that MCC has no bearing on the senate meetings. “The university is a statutory authority and is entitled to carry out its statutory duties, without being influenced by political interference. In any case, it is inconceivable that there can be any influence on voters due to the senate meeting when holding of such a meeting is a statutory requirement,” read the petition.

Earlier, education minister Vinod Tawde had argued against the decision. In a letter to the governor, he said, “The university is an autonomous body. I am of the opinion that conducting university meetings doesn’t violate MCC.”

First Published: Mar 28, 2019 11:09 IST