The University Grants Commission has written to the Tamil Nadu chief secretary, objecting to the constitution of search-cum-selection committees for the appointment of vice-chancellors to state universities without a nominee of the commission chairman, sources said.
Referring to a notification dated September 13 in the Tamil Nadu government gazette to constitute a search committee to recommend a panel of three persons for the selection of vice-chancellor for the University of Madras, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has warned that the appointment of a vice-chancellor in violation of the higher-education regulator's norms shall be "null and void" and can lead to legal complications.
"The UGC has pointed out a Supreme Court judgement from last year, referring to the appointment of the vice-chancellor at Sardar Patel University, Gujarat. The Supreme Court had noted that the appointment of vice-chancellors cannot be made dehors the applicable UGC regulations, even if the State Act concerned prescribes diluted eligibility criteria vis-à-vis the criteria prescribed by UGC regulations," a source said.
Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi and the state's DMK-led government have been at loggerheads about the appointments of vice-chancellors.
The present issue began on September 6 after the governor announced the constitution of three search-cum-selection committees to appoint vice-chancellors to three institutions -- the University of Madras, Bharathiar University in Coimbatore and the Tamil Nadu Teachers Education University in Chennai.
He also introduced a fourth member in the committee by nominating a person on behalf of the UGC chairman.
On September 13, the state's higher education department issued a notification for a search-cum-selection committee by excluding the nominee of the UGC chairman, which, the governor termed an "act of impropriety" and demanded the state withdraw the notification.
There has been no vice-chancellor for the University of Madras for four months and for nine months for Bharathiar University and the Tamil Nadu Teachers Education University.
Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.