The Madras High Court on Friday stayed an order of a single Judge of July 25 this year directing a CBI investigation into the correctness and legality of the appointments made in the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, from 1995 till September 26, 2000.

The interim order was subject to the condition that the institution deposit the entire sum as stated in the impugned judgment within a week.

W.B.Vasantha, who filed the writ petition on which the single Judge passed the order, is at liberty to withdraw the sum, the court said.

The First Bench comprising the Acting Chief Justice R.K.Agrawal and Justice M.Sathyanarayanan passed the order on an appeal filed by the IIT-M challenging the single Judge’s order. The case has been posted for November 4.

Originally, Dr.Vasantha filed the petition seeking to quash the selection held for faculty positions pursuant to an advertisement on January 6, 1995 and direct the IIT to select her as an Associate Professor.

Allowing the plea, among other terms, the single Judge said the petitioner should be treated to have been appointed as an Associate Professor from July 27,1995 and as Professor from December 18 1996. He had also passed orders on how her pay and allowances should be calculated.

In the appeal, the IIT said no element of criminality had been alleged against the institution in the matter of selection of the faculty members. Merely because a selection was held as erroneous, it would not automatically mean that there was criminality involved in the non-selection of Dr.Vasantha. She did not make such an allegation also. By directing the CBI to conduct an enquiry, the Judge had converted the writ petition into a PIL, which was not permissible especially in the absence of any particulars or allegations regarding criminality.

The Judge had also failed to note that Dr.Vasantha had not worked as Associate Professor from December 18, 1996. She had given a conditional acceptance to the offer of appointment which was not accepted by IIT. She had not discharged her duties as Associate Professor and Professor and therefore was not entitled to a higher pay and allowances.

The Judge’s conclusion that the selection committee constituted in 1995 and 1996 for the Associate Professor’s post was not in consonance with the institution’s statute was erroneous. He had failed to consider that the statute did not prohibit the selection panel being comprised by additional experts in order to broadbase the selection process by having experts from each field of mathematics. The petitioner had not levelled any allegations of mala fides against the members of the committee which did not select her for the post of Associate Professor in 1995 and Professor in 1996.

The Bench admitted the appeal. Counsel took notice on behalf of Dr.Vasantha. The court said that on the request of the Solicitor-General of India, Mohan Parasan, it was staying the single Judge’s order subject to the condition.