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Madras HC Orders Termination of 254 Assistant Professors, ‘Difficult to Segregate Tainted & Untainted’

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Madras Hc Law Insider

Sarthak Umang

Published on: 22 November 2022 at 17:36 IST

The Madras High Court has ruled that the 254 assistant professor appointments in the colleges run by the Pachaiyappa Trust are invalid since they were tainted by fraud.

“The Management of the Pachaiyappa’s Trust Board is directed to terminate the services of all the appointed candidates forthwith,”

A retired High Court judge who had been appointed as the board’s interim administrator was found to have sent show-cause notices to at least 152 appointees because it was believed that they lacked the qualifications required by the University Grants Commission (UGC), prompting the court to order an investigation.

It was preferable to cancel the entire appointment, according to Justice SM Subramaniam, since it was impossible to separate the tainted and untainted appointments.

The decision was made in response to a petition submitted by applicants who had contested the appointments and urged the creation of a special committee to look into them.

The Director of Collegiate Education was consulted by the court because, according to the Tamil Nadu Private Colleges (Regulation) Act, 1976, he was the appropriate party to assess the candidates’ educational backgrounds and eligibility.

The Director of Collegiate Education discovered that there were significant inconsistencies in the way that points were given for prior teaching experience. As a result, in his report, those candidates were deemed to be unqualified.

Even though some chosen candidates argued that their appointments shouldn’t be changed given that they had worked for roughly 6–8 years, the court noted that if unfair advantages obtained through illegal means were allowed to be kept, it would compromise the integrity of the selection process itself.

The court stated that it would be hard to separate the contaminated and non-tainted appointments when factual materials reveal corrupt actions and that the best course of action would be to discard the entire selection.

“In the event of the availability of prima facie factual materials in respect of such irregularity, malpractice or corrupt activities, then the apt course would be to cancel the entire selection. If tainted and non-tainted are unable to be segregated, then it is preferable to cancel the entire selection so as to ensure the correctness in the process of selection.”

“As an interim measure, the Management of the Pachaiyappa’s Trust Board shall allow the appointees to continue as Guest Lecturers for a period of three months or until the fresh selections are made on a need basis,” the court ordered the Management of Pachaiyappa’s Trust Board to conduct fresh selections within three months.

Case: R Prema Latha and others v State and others