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The Hindu
The Hindu
Mohamed Imranullah S.

Madras High Court expresses anguish over T.N. universities functioning without Vice Chancellors for long periods

The Madras High Court on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, expressed anguish over three universities in Tamil Nadu remaining without Vice Chancellors for long periods due to certain disagreements between the State government and Governor R.N. Ravi, who is also the chancellor of these universities.

The First Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay V. Gangapurwala and Justice J. Sathya Narayana Prasad said: “It appears that in a dispute between various authorities, the academics is taking a back seat. The Universities are without a regular vice-chancellor for almost a year.”

The judges added: “The court is concerned only with the academic excellence of the universities and not the internal feuds between various authorities. The authorities are required to be sensitive on manning the universities. The only consideration should be educational excellence.”

The observations were made while hearing a writ filed by advocate B. Jagannath who insisted upon the inclusion of a University Grants Commission (UGC) nominee in the search panel constituted by the State government to identify suitable candidates to the post of V-C in the University of Madras.

Representing the writ petitioner, senior counsel N.L. Rajah told the Bench that the issue of inclusion of a UGC nominee in the search panel was decided in a recent judgement of the High Court in a Pondicherry University case, and also by a verdict delivered by the Supreme Court in another case.

However, senior counsel P. Wilson, representing the University of Madras, said the High Court’s judgement in the Pondicherry University case had been stayed by the Supreme Court. He said, the apex court was seized of the same issue and therefore a UGC nominee need not be included in the search panel.

Mr. Wilson also said, the University of Madras wanted to get impleaded in the present writ petition and opposed the petitioner’s plea for the inclusion of a UGC nominee. The judges recorded his submission and granted time till June 5 to file for filing the impleading petition and getting it numbered.

Before doing so, they expressed their dismay over the University of Madras and two other universities remaining without a vice-chancellor for a long time, and the present writ petition itself getting adjourned from time to time, at the instance of the State government, since November 2023.

When the Chief Justice said academics should not end up as casualties because of differences between various authorities, Mr. Wilson contended that the appointment of a Vice Chancellor was getting delayed solely because of the Governor.

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