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SC stays appointment of VCs

New Delhi, March 18: The Supreme Court today stayed the appointment of six vice-chancellors and four pro-vice-chancellors made by outgoing Governor Devanand Konwar despite the state government’s objection against some of the appointees allegedly having tainted track records.

The bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice Kurian Joseph passed the order and issued notices to the vice-chancellors and pro-VCs on the special leave petition filed by the state government challenging the governor’s decision.

Appearing for the state, counsel Rudreshwar Singh told the court that the governor’s decision was contrary to the UGC guidelines, which mandated that all vice chancellors’ appointments must be made in consultation with the state governments. But the Bihar governor, he said, assumed that the consultation process was merely recommendatory and not mandatory and had appointed certain people “with criminal records.”

He pointed out that Patna High Court had quashed the appointments on December 7 last year, but the governor again chose to appoint the same set of persons by his fresh order on February 9. Following this, the apex court stayed the appointments.

The high court had quashed the appointments of Patna University VC Shambhu Nath Singh, BN Mandal University VC Arun Kumar, BRA Bihar University VC Bimal Kumar, Jai Prakash University VC Ram Vinod Singh, Maulana Mazharul Haque Arabic and Persian University VC Shamsuzzoha and Arbind Kumar Pandey, the VC of Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University, on the grounds that the chancellor did not follow the mandatory procedure of consulting the state government before filling the posts. It had passed the order on a PIL filed by Ram Tawakya Singh, a teacher of Veer Kunwar Singh University.