No "rigid" stand taken in appointment of AMU VC: Centre to SC
The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that it did not take a "rigid" stand in the appointment of Vice Chancellor of AMU and forwarded three short-listed names to the President for approval as the varsity has kept the UGC regulations on the issue at abeyance.
New Delhi: The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that it did not take a "rigid" stand in the appointment of Vice Chancellor of AMU and forwarded three short-listed names to the President for approval as the varsity has kept the UGC regulations on the issue at abeyance.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), in its reply filed before a bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur, said that three names were forwarded to the President under the relevant provisions of the Aligarh Muslim University Act.
The President appointed one of the short-listed persons as the VC, the ministry said, adding the varsity is yet to adopt the regulations of the University Grants Commission (UGC).
At the outset, the counsel for the UGC told the bench, also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, that the appointment of the VC should be as per regulations.
The reply of the HRD Ministry was filed in response to a plea of an alumni of the university seeking a direction to quash the appointment of Lt Gen (Retd) Zameeruddin Shah as the VC.
"As far as the appointment of present Vice Chancellor of the AMU is concerned, the university has explained in its affidavit that the adoption of clause 7.3.0 of the UGC regulations was kept in abeyance at the time of processing the matter of the filling up of the post of Vice Chancellor."
"Since the university had not adopted the said UGC regulations pertaining to appointment of the Vice Chancellor, it sent the proposal containing a panel of three persons recommended by the court of University to the ministry for onward submission to the visitor (President), which was prepared in accordance with the prevalent statutes of AMU Act, 1920," the ministry said.
"The ministry did not take a rigid stand at the time of forwarding the panel to the visitor in May 2012 as the post of the VC was vacant and was required to be filled up without delay," the ministry said, adding that the post was filled up in May 2012 with the approval of competent authority that is visitor, who is the President, on the "basis of panel recommended by the court as per the relevant statutes of AMU Act".
The appointment of Shah as the VC of AMU on May 11, 2012, was challenged on the ground that according to the UGC regulations, the VC ought to have worked for at least 10 years as a professor at a university or on an equivalent post in a research or academic institute.
The petitioner, Syed Abrar Ahmed, had argued before the high court that the regulations -- which pertained to minimum qualifications and maintenance of standards in higher education -- had become binding on AMU when it had adopted these on December 6, 2010.
The ministry said that the UGC regulations on Minimum Qualifications for Appointment of Teachers and Other Academic Staff in Universities and Colleges and Measures for Maintenance of Standards in Higher Education, 2010 are mandatory for central universities.
"All the central universities should adopt these regulations without fail and as early as possible in order to ensure maintenance of standards in higher education," it said.
It said that the new UGC regulations cannot lead to an "automatic amendment to the university's Act and statutes given the autonomous amendment of the central universities as envisaged by the respective Central University Act passed by Parliament".
Earlier, the apex court had asked the Centre whether "a university can itself be termed as a minority institution."
The court has also sought Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi's assistance in the matter.