Shillong, Sept. 14: The Supreme Court yesterday gave the Meghalaya government three months to take a decision on the recommendation of former Governor Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary to dissolve CMJ University.
Mooshahary, in his capacity as visitor to the private university, had on June 12 recommended to the state government that the university be dissolved according to Section 48 of the CMJ University Act, 2009.
“The state government is accordingly being addressed to consider dissolution of the CMJ University in terms of Section 48 of the CMJ University Act, 2009,” Mooshahary had stated in the June 12, 2013 letter to the government.
The university was established by an Act passed by the state legislature in 2009. It started functioning from October 17, 2010.
The order was passed by the apex court, which is adjudicating on the special leave to appeal (civil) No. 19617/2013, filed by the CMJ Foundation, CMJ University and the university’s chancellor Chandra Mohan Jha.
Advocate Ranjan Mukherjee appeared on behalf of the Meghalaya government while the governor was represented by additional solicitor-general Sidharth Luthra. The CMJ Foundation was represented by Amit Kumar.
“The apex court has directed (the state government) to decide on the recommendation of the Governor with regard to the dissolution of the CMJ University within a period of three months, beginning yesterday,” Mukherjee said over phone.
According to Section 48 (2) of the CMJ Act, 2009: “On identification of mismanagement, mal-administration, indiscipline, failure in the accomplishment of the objectives of the university and economic hardships in the management systems of the university, the state government will issue directions to the management system of the university. If the decisions are not followed within such time as may be prescribed, the right to take a decision for winding up of the university would vest in the state government.”
The CMJ Foundation, CMJ University and Jha had filed a writ petition before Meghalaya High Court where they had sought the court’s intervention to set aside the recommendation made by Mooshahary.
However, Mukherjee was of the opinion that the petition pending before the high court has lost significance in view of yesterday’s order by the apex court.
The court also asked Mukherjee what steps had been taken by the government against the university, according to Section 48. The advocate replied that he did not have the information off-hand.
On April 30 this year, Mooshahary had highlighted various alleged irregularities of the university.
He had pointed out then that the university had enrolled students in various courses where in 2010-11, 176 students were enrolled, in 2011-12 (469 students) and in 2012-13 (2,734 students). However, Mooshahary had said that all these enrolments were “illegal”.
He had pointed out that the university had awarded PhD degrees to 434 students during 2012-13, and had enrolled 490 students for the PhD programme during 2012-2013.
On June 12, Mooshahary, while asking the state government to dissolve the private university, had pointed out that the CMJ University had started functioning without the chancellor whose appointment has not been approved by the visitor.
Also, that it functioned in gross violation of the standards and norms set by the UGC and other regulatory bodies, CMJ University Act, 2009, and Meghalaya Private Universities (Regulation of Establishment and Maintenance of Standards) Act, 2012.
Far from the comforts of Raj Bhavan here, Mooshahary today said he felt “happy” with the apex court order to the state government.
“I feel happy that the court has passed such an order as I have found out that this university could not provide any quality education,” the former Meghalaya governor told The Telegraph over phone.
At the same time, he said he was “pained” that the state government did not act on his recommendation. “I had expected the government to act according to the recommendation I had given in June,” he said.
Mooshahary also said the state government, especially the education department, did not co-operate with him on the CMJ University issue. “Neither the chief minister nor the education minister defended me as the head of state when I was vehemently criticised by the people of the university. I felt very let down,” the retired IPS officer said.
At the same time, he said after demitting Raj Bhavan, he had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on the university issue.
On an optimistic note, Mooshahary said whatever action he had initiated against the university would be a “message” to other such universities across the country.