The Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra government to take a decision on what facilities are to be provided to tribunals at universities in the state.
A division bench of Justices A S Oka and Riyaz Chagla was hearing a public interest litigation filed by advocate Pravartak Pathak, raising concerns over failure to provide basic facilities to tribunals and its presiding officers, who are retired high court judges.
The tribunals have been set up as a first appeal body to hear and resolve issues arising out of admission and other education matters.
After the PIL was filed, the University of Mumbai initiated steps and told the court that it had provided the presiding officer of its tribunal with a residential accommodation, a car and facilities such as toilet at its office.
The court sought to know if similar steps have been initiated by all universities in the state.
“Under the Maharashtra Public Universities Act, the state government has powers to direct the universities to provide facilities. The government will have to, however, decide on the terms and conditions of the tribunal and its presiding officer,” the court said.
The court noted that a government resolution issued in 1995 was vague and did not specify about the residential accommodation for the presiding officer and other facilities to him.
“We find that there is no clarity about some of the essential terms and conditions. It would be appropriate for the state government to look into the issue and take a decision within six weeks,” it directed.
The court has posted the petition for further hearing on April 24.
According to the PIL, the tribunal at the University of Mumbai has been allotted a very small area to operate from and that there is a shortage of support staff, hampering its work.