The Supreme Court on Friday announced its verdict on a petition filed against the appointment of Dr. Rajasri MS as the Vice-Chancellor of the APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University (APJAKTU). A bench comprising Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar declared that Dr Rajasri’s appointment to the post, which was notified in 2019, violated University Grants Commission (UGC) norms, LiveLaw reported.

A former candidate for the post of VC chairman in the university, Dr Sreejith PS, filed a petition against the appointment. In an order, the Supreme Court set aside the decision of the Kerala High Court. State of Kerala has advertised twice for the post of VC in APJAKTU. Dr Sreejith, former Dean of Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), was one of the shortlisted candidates of the first list. However, the dissolution of the committee forming the EC led to the publication of a second notice.

The applicant’s name was excluded from this list. He later learned that the chancellor had appointed Dr. Rajasree to the post on February 19, 2019. The decision was challenged in the Kerala High Court through a petition. Here, first a single and then a division bench dismissed the petition. Dr Sreejith then approached the Supreme Court.

He argued that the Chief Secretary cannot be part of the ‘Search Committee’ as only famous names in education or people associated with the university can be part of the process. He further alleged that proper procedures were not followed in the appointment.

According to reports, 22 of the 26 applicants for the position of the VC met the qualifications. Five of them were shortlisted. However, instead of forwarding these names, the search committee forwarded only Dr. Rajasri’s name for appointment.

The Supreme Court observed that the search committee, in violation of UGC provisions, did not forward three names to the chancellor. Although the state of Kerala had argued that the 2013 UGC order allowed the appointment to the post based on state laws, the Supreme Court declared the appointment void ab initio.

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