The Madras High Court has restrained a Special Officer, appointed by the Tamil Nadu government, from interfering with the conduct of five undergraduate and three postgraduate aided courses by the management of Dhanraj Baid Jain College in Chennai. It has also permitted the management to hold the admission process for the eight courses this year.
Justice Abdul Quddhose passed the interim orders on a writ petition filed by the college to quash a Government Order issued on August 12 appointing a Special Officer to administer the college since it wanted to surrender the aided courses and convert them into self-financing courses allegedly for making commercial gains.
However, senior counsel Vijay Narayan, representing the petitioner management, said the college, a minority institution, had been requesting the government for long to appoint adequate teaching staff for the aided courses. The vacancies that arose between 1984 and 2000 were not filled, and the students had to bear the brunt of the government’s failure.
At present, there was only one staff member holding the post of Physical Director for the aided courses, the management said. It told the court that the trust which manages the institution had decided to convert the aided courses into self-financing courses in 2019 and submitted a representation to the Director of Collegiate Education (DCE).
It also obtained a couple of court orders to consider the representation. However, the DCE rejected the application on March 17, 2021. Since the rejection order was based on untenable reasons, it was challenged before the High Court, which ordered a fresh consideration of the application. The DCE rejected the application again on September 29, 2021.
A writ petition was filed last year challenging the rejection, and it was pending in the High Court. Despite the issue being sub judice, the government issued a show cause notice to the management on November 18, 2021, questioning why it should not be suspended and a Special Officer be appointed to manage the college as recommended by the DCE.
The management replied to the notice on December 3 and stated that it was constrained to surrender the aided courses for want of teachers. Yet, the government chose to issue an order on August 12 this year appointing the Special Officer and hence the present writ petition.
Opposing the case, Additional Government Pleader B. Vijay told the court that aided institutions were being run only to benefit students from the lower strata of society and on April 17, 2017 itself, 33 posts were sanctioned by the government, but the management did not utilise them owing to a commercial motive.
He said the Special Officer had already issued a notification calling for applications for the aided courses. After hearing both sides, the judge directed the government to file its counter-affidavit by September 8 and ordered that the management continue the admission process until further orders.