JNU faculty selection panel told to get academic, executive bodies’ nod

Names given by V-C to be approved by AC first, then forwarded to EC: High Court

In a significant ruling on appointment of faculty members at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), the Delhi High Court has ordered that the members of the selection panel, including names recommended by the Vice-Chancellor, have to get approval of the Academic Council (AC) and the Executive Council (EC).

Justice C. Hari Shankar rejected the argument made by JNU’s counsel Monika Arora that the selection of teachers relates to administration of the university and would, therefore, fall within the exclusive province of the EC, whereas the jurisdiction of the AC would relate to matters relating to “education and examination”.

“I find it surprising that the JNU is seeking to argue contrary to its own statutes,” Justice Shankar remarked.

The judge said, “It may be questionable whether it is at all open to the JNU to contend that matters relating to recruitment and faculty positions are outside the jurisdiction of the AC, when, by its own statutes, specifically Clause 15(3)(a) thereof, the JNU had itself conferred the said power on the AC.”

Five JNU professors had challenged the legality of an amendment made in the Regulation M-18, which defined the procedure for creation of a database of experts for the panel, pursuant to the 269th EC meeting in September 2017.

The amended Regulation M-18 had done away with the role of AC in the approval process for the panel of experts.

Senior advocate Akhil Sibal, appearing for the JNU professors, had argued that the expert panel names have to be approved by the relevant statutory body, which would include EC and AC.

JNU’s counsel, on the other hand, submitted that the approval of the EC alone is required.

Justice Shankar pointed out that the AC has been conferred with powers under the JNU Act in matters relating to “maintenance of standards of instruction, education and examination”, and to “exercise such other powers and perform such other duties as may be conferred or imposed upon it by the statutes”.

“Clearly, therefore, where the statutes of the JNU themselves confer on the AC powers relating to recruitment and faculty positions, it is not open to the JNU to contend otherwise,” the judge said.

The High Court said that for the time being it was not going to ‘interdict’ the power of the V-C to add or suggest names of the panel of experts. However, it ordered that such names, added or suggested by the V-C would have to be necessarily first recommended by the AC and thereafter, forwarded to the EC for approval. “It is only thereafter that the panel could operate,” the court said.

A letter from the Editor

Dear reader,

We have been keeping you up-to-date with information on the developments in India and the world that have a bearing on our health and wellbeing, our lives and livelihoods, during these difficult times. To enable wide dissemination of news that is in public interest, we have increased the number of articles that can be read free, and extended free trial periods. However, we have a request for those who can afford to subscribe: please do. As we fight disinformation and misinformation, and keep apace with the happenings, we need to commit greater resources to news gathering operations. We promise to deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.

Support Quality Journalism
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 27, 2020 3:16:50 AM |

Next Story