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Sri Raj Pal Verma & Ors Vs. Chancellor of Meerut University [1997] INSC 485 (1 May 1997)




O R D E R Leave granted.

Intervention application is dismissed.

Here is aclassiccase ofdelay defeats justice".This appeal by special leave arises from the order of the Division Bench of the AllahabadHigh Court, made on November 28, 1994 in writ petition No. 38070/94.

Itis notnecessary to give in detail all the facts.

Sufficeit to state that pursuant toan advertisement on March 14, 1978 for selection to the post of Professor, AncientHistory, Mr. K.K. Sharma, the 3rd respondent had appliedfor selection. While the selection was to bemade by a committeeconsisting of Vice-Chancellor,the dean and three experts on the subject,of whomone wasfrom outside the University and two from outside thestate were comprised therein. On the day when the committeemet forselection of the teacher, two of the experts form outside the State did not attend themeeting. They appear to have acted upon the telegram sent by the Vice-Chancellor asking them to abstain from the selection panel. The Vic e-chancellor, theDean and thelocal experts Mr. K.K. Nizam from Aligarh University then selected Mr. K.K. Sharma. The ExecutiveCouncil, the appointing authority, did not approve of the selection. Mr. K.K. Sharma wasqualified only in modern and medieval Indian historywhile the candidate was required to possess degree in Ancient History. Accordingly, the matterwas referred underSection 31(8) (a)of the U.P. University Act, (10 of 1973) (forshort, the 'Act') to the Chancellor.

The Chancellor, finding that all the seats of the Executive councilwere not filled up, filled upfour vacant seats by nomination, instead offollowing the due procedure andthen referred the matter tothe Executive Council. The Executive Council approved theselections made by the Selection committee and pursuantthere to, the third respondentcame to be appointed in March 1979as theProfessor in Ancient History. The appointment came to be challenged before the High court, Several rounds oflitigations have since taken place. Ultimately, the firstappellant who is one of the professors, challenged the said appointment, as stated earlier, on diverse legal grounds. The High Court has dismissed the matter in limine. Since the appellant is appearing in person, we have requested ShriD.D Thakur, learnedseniorcounsel, to assist the Court. He had graciously accepted and ablyassisted us. We express our deep thanks forthe valuable assistancegiven by him.

The onlyquestion is: whetherthe action of the Chancellor in filling up the vacancies by nomination and insteadof following the dueprocedure remitting g the matter to the Executive council for reconsideration of the matter is valid in law? In other words, could he alone decide it? Section 31(8)(a) reads as under:

"In the case of appointment of a teacher of the University, if the Executive Councildoes not agree with the recommendation made by the Selection Committee. The Executive Councilshall refer the matter to the Chancellor along with the reasons of such disagreement t and his decision shall be final.

InChapter5, appointment dealing with "applintment and condition of service of teachers and officers", undersub- section(1) of Section 31 it isprovided thus:

"Subject to the provisions of this Act, the teachers of the university and the teachers of an affiliated orassociate college (other than a college maintained exclusively by the state Government shall be appointed by the Executive Council orthe Management of the affiliated orassociated college, asthe case maybe, onthe recommendation of a selection committee i the manner hereinafter provided.

The details as to the constitution of the selection Committee and manner of selection arenot material for the purposeof thiscase. Section 31 (8)(a) postulates that i n the case of appointment of a teacher of the university, if the Executive Council does not agree with the recommendationmade by the Selection Committee, the Executive Council shallrefer,the matter to the Chancellor along with the reason of such disagreement, andhis decision thereonshall be final. Theprovisois not necessary for the purpose of this case, henceomitted. The contention of Shri D.D. Thakur is that since the statute attaches finality to the decisionof the Chancellor in the matterof selection Committee andthere Executive Council, the appropriate authority to decide the legality of selectionand approval of the selection would be the Chancellor. Therefore, he has no power, by necessaryimplication, to remit the matter to the Executive council for reconsideration. He alone can decide it. TheChancellor has derelicted in the performance of thestatutory dutywhich is in violation of Section 31(8)(a) of theAct. Though plausible,we findit difficult to give acceptance to the s aid contention. Itis seenthat when there is a difference of opinion on the selectionof a teacher of the Universityor affiliatedcollege for appointment asa professor of Lecturer, asthe case may be, between the Selection Committee and the Executive Councilwhich is the appointing authority, thematter shall be referred to The Chancellor. The Chancellor shall consider the reasons given by the Executive Council for its disagreement with the Selection Committee and then he is entitled to take a decision in an appropriatemanner. He should articulate his major premise by a reasoned order. In case the Chancellor feels that some material circumstances have not been considered by the executive committee or the same escaped their attention,insteadof himself taking a decision, he may remit the matter to the Executive Council to reconsider the matter in terms of his guidance, and may also express his opinion fro such a course of action. He may also himself take a decision in which event it shall be final. In the later case, the Executive Council, on remittance andfresh consideration may still disapprove of the selection. In case theExecutive council expresses opinionthereafter, the Chancellor is entitledto take his own decision.The decision then shall be final and, of course, subject to judicial review and theintermediary action of remittance taken bythe Chancellor is not final.

Under these circumstances, we hold,on principle,that there is noinfirmity in the decision taken by the Chancellor in remitting the matter to the Executive Council for reconsideration. It is true thatthe Chancellor has reconstituted the committee by nomination, instead of following the due procedure prescribed underthe Act and loaded in favour of Mr. Sharma whichmay be open to grave doubt on the proprietyof the course of actiontaken by the Chancellor. Though, prima facie, we are in agreementwith Shri D.D. Thakur, in view of the long lapse oftime, it is not necessary to recordany finding in this regard.

Hethen contends that theentire operation success was done behind the screen by Mr. B.C. Sharma, the Vice- Chancellor to benefit the thirdrespondent, Mr. K.K. Sharma and, therefore, it isvitiated by mala fides. He contends that till the last date prescribed tosubmit the application, K.K. Sharma did not have PH.D. degree. To facilitate him, the Vice-chancellor extended the lastdate of he application so as to enable the third respondent to become eligible to submit theapplication for selection.

This is not disputed. He prevented the outside experts to participate in the selection bysendingtelegrams requesting No.3 was not qualified. Thus, the respondent No. came to be selected. It is but astage-managed affair due to caste consideration.

Itis very unfortunate and sad to noticethat centres of learning ofyesteryears have become casteinfected and caste cust oriented clusters and the autonomy of management is given tothem sanctioning power gives impetus to camouflage the blatant conduct generating deleterious effect on true and congenial atmosphere, honestlearned and secular outlook for future education politicisation and division of staff on caste lines is another debilitating factor which need urgent attention for remedy, teachers are at the receiving end and arediscouraged anddemoralised.

Honest and effective performance of the duties in teaching and inthe managementof theUniversities is sagging and disappearing Centres of learning meant toprepare the students with broad, enlightening and secular breed to improve excellence, higher learning, rational thinking and scientific temper with objectively and fairness, are breading with narrow minded and cynical attitude.

Objectivity and secular outlook wouldbe brought back on board only when teacher becomes Guru and servesas Guru Devo Bhave but not as castedemon.The true teacher scintilates the young receptiveminds with scientific though and rational and thinking and makes him progressive minded man to occupy any hosen faculty, profession, avocation, serviceto serve the society with prideof his almam mater.

The third respondent came to be appointed as late as in March 1979 and 18 yearshave passed andwe are informedthat he is no the verge ofretirement nextyear. Though he was not qualified for appointmentat thefirst instance as he did not possesthe Ph.D. degree in Ancient History, the subject tobe taught,nonetheless,since the time has run out, we decline to disturb the appointment of the third respondent the observation that there is deterioration of standards ofrectitudes in management of higher educational institutionwith the fond hope that the Executive wouldlook into and meander the malady and restore the lost gloryof the educational institutions. University is thecentre of learning and there students look to the teacheras realGuru Devo Bhavawith all respect, reverence in theheart, as thetrue guide, mentor, frient and philospher. Before parting with the matter, we are inclined to place on record our appreciation for theregood cause espoused by the appellantas public as public interest litigant.

Thus, we are constrainedto dismiss the appeal. No costs.


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