The power of appointing Chairpersons of Centres/Special Centres is expressly conferred upon the Executive Council and not the Vice-Chancellor under the JNU Act, 1966: High Court of Delhi

Vice-Chancellor is not vested with the power to appoint Chairpersons of Centres/Special Centres. The Statute confers the power of appointment on the Executive Council. Thus, clearly the appointment of Chairpersons of Centres/Special Centres by vice-chancellor as is evident at this stage, prima facie, without authority as held by the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi through a learned bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher and Justice Talwant Singh in the case of Atul Sood Vs Jawaharlal Nehru University Through Registrar & Anr [LPA 390/2021 & CM No.37701/2021]

Briefly stated the facts are that an appeal was directed against an interlocutory order dated 28.09.2021, passed by the learned single judge. The appellant was aggrieved by the fact that, the learned single judge, via the impugned order, has declined to grant stay qua the appointment of nine professors, who were appointed as Chairpersons of various Centres/Special Centres. The record shows that, the appointments were made by respondent no.2, i.e., the Vice-Chancellor of JNU. Mr. Abhik Chimni, who appears on behalf of the appellant, says that, the exercise of power by respondent no.2 is in complete violation of Statute 18(2)(c)(I) of the Statutes of the University, under the JNU Act, 1966.

In support of his contention, Mr. Chimni has relied upon the following observations made in the judgement of the Supreme Court rendered in the case of V.C. Banaras Hindu University & Ors. v. Shrikant, (2006) 11 SCC 42. On the other hand, Ms. Arora, learned counsel for the respondent, says that, respondent no.2 had exercised the power conferred on him, under Statute 4(5) of the Statutes of the University. It is Ms. Arora’s contention that, since, from time to time, the Centres require appointment of Chairperson(s), the power is exercised by the Vice Chancellor [in this case, respondent no.2], which is, thereafter, ratified by the Executive Council.

The Hon’ble High Court after a perusal of the provisions of Statute 18(2)(c)(I) of the Statutes of the University, observed that he power of appointment qua Chairpersons of Centres/Special Centres is expressly conferred upon the Executive Council, and not respondent no.2. In conclusion, after perusing the provisions of Statute 4(5), it was stated by the Hon’ble Court that “A bare reading of the abovementioned extract would show that the ViceChancellor can exercise the powers, where immediate action is required on account of emergent situation, which then is reported to the concerned authority [i.e. authority which would have dealt with matter in the ordinary course] for obtaining its approval.”

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Judgment Reviewed by – Aryan Bajaj

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