HC asks varsity to reconsider Vice Chancellor’s eligibility

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The Bombay High Court asked the Mumbai University’s search committee to reconsider the eligibility of Vice Chancellor Rajan Welukar with regard to fulfillment of the stipulated criteria for the job.

Earlier, the HC had held that Welukar’s appointment as Vice Chancellor reflected a lack of “application of mind” and also violated the criteria stipulated for the job.

After Welukar was appointed on July 7, 2010, for a period of five years, his appointment was challenged by Vasant Ganu Patil and A D Sawant in the High Court.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice B P Colabawalla directed today that in case the varsity search committee found that Welukar is not eligible for the office of the Vice Chancellor, the Chancellor (the Maharashtra Governor) should pass consequential orders.

The court also ordered that the search committee be constituted by the Chancellor within two weeks after which it should take a decision on Welukar within a month.

The court was informed that members of an earlier search committee had retired after which the bench ruled that the Chancellor could retain the same members or appoint new ones.

On December 11, Justice P V Hardas and Justice Anuja Prabhudesai had ruled that Welukar’s appointment reflected lack of “application of mind” and violated the criteria stipulated for the job of Mumbai University Vice Chancellor.

The bench had also held that the selection committee had not followed a key criteria for the post as per which the candidate ought to have published at least five research articles after PhD in internationally peer-reviewed journals, or be the author of a textbook.

A reference was made to the bench headed by Justice P V Hardas because another bench had delivered a split verdict on a petition challenging Welukar’s appointment.