Apex court notice to state varsities

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to various universities in the state seeking their reply to a petition challenging the Maharashtra government's amendments to University Grants Commission (UGC) regulations laying down the qualifications for appointment to the post of Vice- Chancellor (VC) and members of the search committee that shortlists final candidates for the post of VC.

The petitioner, A D Sawant, has moved the apex court alleging that appointments of VCs of Sant Gadge Maharaj University in Amravati, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University at Aurangabad, SNDT University in Mumbai and universities of Mumbai, Pune, Kolhapur, Lonare, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Nashik and so on have been done in violation of the UGC Act. Sawant has also challenged the amendment made by the state commission to the UGC regulations pertaining to the VC selection process.

The matter came to light after the appointment of the Vice Chancellor of Mumbai University Dr Rajan Welukar. The appointment faced opposition from several quarters. It was challenged in court by Sawant, former Rajasthan University VC. Sawant, who is also former Pro-Vice Chancellor of University of Mumbai, filed a plea seeking the quashing of Welukar's appointment and questioned his qualifications for the post. Sawant alleged that Welukar was a selection grade lecturer and not a professor as specified in the norms and hence, it was a violation of the UGC rules.

"In September 2009, UGC Regulations came into force, prescribing qualifications for the post of the Vice-Chancellors to be appointed in the various universities and the qualification for selection of the search committee. The committee then has to forward the list of the selected candidates to the Chancellor, that is the Governor of the respective states for final selection. The UGC regulations were violated and unqualified candidates were appointed on the post of VCs," Sawant said.

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