The Supreme Court today raised questions on the appointment of a person of non-teaching background as the Vice Chancellor of prestigious Aligarh Muslim University.
“You (AMU) are a central university. UGC regulations apply to you as they are mandatory. The VC must be an academician and he should be a person who has worked for at least 10 years as a professor in a university.
“If every other central university follows the Regulation why can’t AMU? Why to appoint a former army officer? We are not questioning his abilities. We are on the question whether his appointment is as per the UGC Regulations,” a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and A M Khanwilkar said.
The observation came during hearing of a plea challenging the appointment of AMU’s Vice Chancellor Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah on the ground that according to the regulations of University Grants Commission (UGC), the VC ought to have worked for at least 10 years as a professor in a university or on an equivalent post in a research or academic institution.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner Syed Abrar Ahmed, said the UGC regulations, which pertain to minimum qualifications and maintenance of standards in the higher education, had become binding on the AMU when it had adopted these on December 6, 2010.
Referring to Kalyani Mathivanan’s judgement, he said Shah was a retired army general and had no academic qualification as mandated by UGC Regulations, 2010.
The UGC Regulations make it explicitly clear that “the Vice Chancellor should be a distinguished academician with a minimum of 10 years of experience as professor in a university system or 10 years of experience in an equivalent position in a reputed research and/or academic administrative organisation,” Bhushan said.
Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, appearing for AMU, opposed the submission and said UGC Regulations were only meant for teachers in central universities and not for appointment to the post of VC which is the post of an officer.
Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for Shah, referred to section 26 of UGC and said AMU is a minority institution.
He said the alleged non-compliance of Regulations could lead to stoppage of funds granted by the UGC but the terms of appointment of the VC cannot be dictated to the university.
The apex court posted the matter for hearing on September 26. Earlier, the bench had issued notices to the Ministry of Human Resource Development and AMU while seeking their response on Ahmed’s plea contending that the appointment of the AMU VC was contrary to the UGC Regulations, 2010.
“The UGC Regulations, 2010 was accepted and adopted by the AMU and the same was put in abeyance by the University, deliberately by an administrative order.
“Pass an order restraining the present VC not to make any appointment and promotion, take any policy decision which may have long term financial or other implications on the executive and academic functioning of the University,” the plea had said.