The Karnataka High Court has ordered an enquiry against Lingaraja Gandhi, Registrar of the Karnataka State Open University (KSOU), for making “false and misleading” remark against a professor while forwarding the latter’s application for the posts of Vice-Chancellors of two separate universities.
The court also directed the State government and the two search committees, constituted for shortlisting persons to the posts, to reconsider the candidature of A. Rangaswamy, chairman and professor, Department of Studies and Research in Kannada, KSOU, “on merit without being influenced by the remarks made by Mr. Gandhi”.
Justice John Michael Cunha passed the order while allowing a petition filed by Mr. Rangaswamy. The enquiry will have to be conducted by the appointing/disciplinary authority for taking appropriate action against Mr. Gandhi as per the rules governing his appointment. The court said that Mr. Gandhi’s remark, indicating that “a committee to hold disciplinary enquiry against Mr. Rangaswamy has been constituted and the said enquiry is pending,” is “unauthorised, mala fide, and obliquely motivated.”
From the records, the court found that there was no order passed by the Vice-Chancellor of KSOU in February 2020 constituting an enquiry committee against Mr. Rangaswamy as claimed by Mr. Gandhi as showcause notice, issued to Mr. Rangaswamy on June 24, 2020, states that it was issued on the Vice-Chancellor’s June 20 order.
If showcause notice itself was issued to Mr. Rangaswamy in June 2020, then how could an enquiry officer been appointed in February and why the officer had not proceeded with enquiry so long as no documents of enquiry proceedings has been forthcoming, the court pointed out, while agreeing with the petitioner’s claim that “the order appointing enquiry officer was antedated only with a view to justify the illegal acts of Mr. Gandhi” to falsely show that an enquiry was pending against the petitioner.
When Mr. Gandhi himself is a contender to the posts of V-Cs, “there is something more than that meets the eye,” the court said, while pointing out that these aspects manifestly establish that Mr. Gandhi, with the malafide intention, had inserted a false and baseless remark.
“All these circumstances, therefore, go to show that a deliberate attempt has been made by Mr. Gandhi to mislead the search committee, by concocting false documents to show that the petitioner was facing an enquiry as on the date submission of his candidature for the post even though no such enquiry was initiated or pending against the petitioner as on that date,” the court said.
Mr. Rangaswamy and Mr. Gandhi are contenders to the posts of V-Cs of Karnataka Rajya Dr. Gangubai Hanagal Sangeetha Mattu Pradarshaka Kalegala Vishwavidyalaya, Mysuru, and Gulbarga University, Kalaburagi.