Environmental historian and political commentator Mahesh Rangarajan has been formally selected and appointed as director of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, one of the country's top centres for research on modern Indian history. This comes four months after the Delhi High Court struck down his original appointment on the grounds of an invalid selection process.
Dr. Rangarajan's appointment had been challenged in court by a history professor from Rohtak, who argued that the selection process was not open, as NMML – a government funded institution – had invited applications rather than advertising the position. The court ruled that the process was “in violation of the prescribed procedure and the law” and quashed Dr. Rangarajan's appointment.
However, while asking NMML to start the appointment process anew, the judge said the institution was free to re-appoint Dr. Rangarajan to the post as per established procedure if he was found to be the best candidate for the post.
Mr. Rangarajan's appointment is still subject to the disposal of another petition filed in the Delhi High Court by a group of well-known historians -- Bipan Chandra, Shireen Mousvi, Irfan Habib, Arjun Dev and D.N. Gupta – who are challenging the selection process and NMML's move to allow non-historians to also apply for the position of director. That petition is scheduled to be heard on April 25.