CHENNAI: The Madras High Court today warned the Tamil Nadu government to either modify the State Universities Act and rules in line with the UGC regulations or face the consequences as it disposed two public interest litigations.
A bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana delivered the judgment on PILs filed by NGO Change India and another by M Anandakrishnan, former Vice Chancellor of Anna University.
The PILs challenged a notification of Madurai Kamaraj University to fill up the post of Vice Chancellor by framing news rules contrary to the UGC guidelines.
"Modify the State Universities Act in line with the regulations prescribed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) or face the consequences," the bench said while disposing the PILs which raised the broader question of whether State universities should mandatorily adopt UGC rules in appointments for the post of Vice Chancellor.
The PILs challenged a notification issued by Madurai Kamaraj University to fill up the post of Vice Chancellor by framing new rules contrary to the UGC guidelines.
The petitioners charge was that there was large-scale corruption in the appointment of VCs and to avoid it, UGC guidelines should be implemented.
The State government in its counter said under provisions of the Madurai Kamaraj University Act,1965, UGC regulations are mandatory only for central universities and not for other educational institutions under the purview of State legislation.
UGC stand was that the Search Committee appointed by the State government has no powers to fix new qualification lower than UGC norms and so the committee's action was without jurisdiction.
The Bench observed it was obvious that selection of Vice Chancellor does not only depend upon the norms laid down in the State and Universities Act and the UGC guidelines, but also other contextual factors like regional, State and communal pressures.
It referred to the UGC's submission that it would be entitled to take necessary steps as per the act if the State government does not amend the Universities act as per the UGC regulations.
"Government should now be quite aware of the consequences which will flow to them on their inaction or refusal to amend the provisions of the Statutes in line with the UGC regulations and should be ready to face them.
"This may entail difficulty in functioning of State Universities on account of the lack of support and fund flow from the UGC," it said and closed the PILs.