SC Sets Aside Dr. Rajashree MS’s Appointment as Vice Chancellor of Kerala’s APJ Abdul Kalam University

Rajasree Law Insider

Sakina Tashrifwala

Published on: October 22, 2022 at 17:44 IST

The Supreme Court on Friday set aside Dr. Rajashree MS’s appointment as Vice Chancellor of Kerala’s APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University.

After declaring Dr. Rajashree’s appointment null and invalid ab inito, the Court issued a writ of quo warranto against her.

A bench of Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar delivered the judgment in a petition brought by Professor Dr. Sreejith PS contesting the VC’s appointment as a violation of the University Grants Commission’s rules.

One of the grounds for the challenge was that the search committee did not recommend a panel of three names as VC in accordance with UGC guidelines.

Dr. Sreejith petitioned the Supreme Court, challenging the decisions of the High Court of Kerala’s single and division benches, which dismissed his applications. The Supreme Court upheld Dr. Sreejith’s appeal, ruling that the High Court’s judgments were unsustainable.

Background Information

Professor Dr Sreejith PS applied for the position of Vice Chancellor of APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, which was advertised twice by the State.

The petitioner was included in the first notification’s short list, but because the “Search Committee” that comprised the VC was dissolved, a second notification was given in December 2018.

The petitioner did not discover his name in the second notification, and he learned from newspaper reports that the Chancellor had nominated Dr. Rajashree MS on February 19, 2019.

The petitioner discovered through RTI that there were multiple vitiating circumstances that rendered the selection process invalid. Some of them were that the Search Committee’s composition disregarded the mandatory conditions of Regulation 7.3.0 (ii) of the UGC Regulations, 2010.

The Case Before the Kerala High Court

The Single Bench dismissed the writ while citing the Supreme Court’s decision in Kalyani Mathivanan vs. KV Jeyaraj (2015), which held that UGC Regulations are not binding unless accepted by the State Government.

The Single Judge also proposed that because the UGC had not taken any criminal action under Section 14 of the UGC Act against the third respondent University for containing in its Act provisions that were inconsistent with the UGC Regulations 2010, Section 13 of the University Act would take precedence.

Dissatisfied, the petitioner filed an appeal with the High Court’s Division Bench, which was dismissed.

Petitioners’ attorneys are Dr. Amit George and Adv. Mohammed Sadique T.A. (AoR).

Respondent’s attorneys are CK Sasi and PV Dinesh.

Harshad Hameed for the State of Kerala.

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