JNU VC appointed nine chairpersons ‘without authority’: Delhi High Court

Jawaharlal Nehru University Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar

The Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University does not have the power to appoint chairpersons of different centres, the Delhi High Court has said on Tuesday.

The High Court has observed that the VC Jagadesh Kumar could not have exercised the power to appoint chairpersons to 9 special centres and restrained them from taking major decisions during the pendency of the petitions challenging their appointments, Live Law reported.

A bench headed by Justice Rajiv Shakdher was dealing with an appeal against a Single-Judge order which had refused to grant a stay on the appointments on a petition by Professor Atul Sood.

The exercise of power by JNU VC was in complete violation of Statute 18(2)(c)(I) of the Statutes of the University under the JNU Act for the reason that the power of appointment of Chairperson of Special Centres has been expressly conferred on the Executive Council.

The judges observed that the executive council is vested with the power to appoint chairpersons and not the Vice-Chancellor.

“Thus, clearly the appointment of chairpersons of centres/special centres by respondent number 2 is, as is evident at this stage, prima facie, without authority,” the HC said in an order passed on October 26.

The High Court has also asked the single-judge bench, before whom the matter is pending, to hear Sood’s petition on 10 November. The court also clarified that the views are only prima facie and the single judge will decide the writ petition on merits, after hearing both sides.