B. Jagannath, An Advocate & legal practitioner with 15 Years of Experience at Madras High Court, had filed a Public Interest Litigation against the Constitution of the Search Committee for appointment of Vice Chancellor for Madras University contending that leaving out the Nominee of the UGC – Search Committee had been formed by Education Department. The said matter was listed on 18.10.2023 & was adjourned for 03.11.2023.
The said matter was taken up today for further hearing wherein, for Petitioner B. Jagannath, N. L. Rajah, Senior Advocate appearing for R.Kannan had contended that the Impugned Order passed by the First Respondent State of Tamil Nadu is against the 2018 UGC Regulations, plethora of Supreme Court Decisions including the Landmark Gambirdan Gadvi, Sreejith & Praneeth Case as laid down by the Supreme Court.
This factual position has now become Final wherein the State Government in a Search Committee ought to have the UGC Nominee. For UGC – Learned Additional Solicitor General ARL Sundaresan Sir had appeared on behalf of Rabu Manohar Standing Counsel for UGC & had filed counter. Specifically referring to Para 7, it was argued that UGC had indeed given Grant to the Madras University.
Upon receipt of Grant in Crores from the UGC the State cannot Unilaterally appoint Search Committee for post of VC in Madras University. The Learned Advocate General of State of Tamil Nadu appearing for Education Department had vehemently opposed the Writ Petition.
The Learned AG had contended that the Public Interest Litigation should be dismissed as non maintainable & that the relief asked for is in realm of Service law & a PIL cannot lie in this matter & that another matter had been filed in the Supreme Court specifically seeking to protect Federalism & curb the power of Governor which is required due to actions of the Governor.
The Learned AG further contended that the said matter was filed by a Petitioner who had earlier filed various Petitions against the State Government. Further more, the present case cannot be considered as the Madras University Rules 1923 as amended in 1967 specifically Section 11 provides for Constitution of Search Committee for appointment of Vice Chancellor & that the same has been established & followed as a well laid precedent for more than 55 years & surreptitiously all of a Sudden Petitioner seeks to Superimpose UGC regulations on the State Education Department.
The Learned First Division Bench of the Honourable Madras High Court cut short the Advocate General & pointed out that they were not concerned with any executive actions & were only on the issue of UGC nominee in search committee for appointment of VC based upon UGC Regulations.
Furthermore, the Learned Division Bench had also highlighted that the recent position of Supreme Court is now clear that the Nomination of One Member of UGC should be there in Accordance with Law & that to prevent the Quo Warranto from being filed in the future the Bench is of the Considered view that the Constitution of Search Committee should have one Member Nominated from UGC & leaving out the UGC State Government cannot appoint Search Committee.
The Learned AG had replied that the Madras University had not received any grant from UGC & this was vehemently opposed & denied & objected to by Learned ASG on behalf of UGC & had further submitted that the UGC had in-fact given grants in Crores & was ready to share them with the Bench.
Taking into consideration the Submissions of the Learned ASG – pertaining to funding for Madras University & further adjourned the matter to 21.11.2023