Odisha did not break law by changing rules for VC appointment: High Court dismisses plea challenging amendments in Odisha Universities Act

The Court said that the changes do not impact the autonomy of the varsity, and that the provisions for appointment of the VC are not arbitrary as claimed by the petitioners
Pic: Edexlive
Pic: Edexlive

Odisha was within its rights to change the rules relating to the recruitment of VCs and teaching staff, the Orissa High Court has ruled. The HC on Monday disposed of all the three writ petitions that had challenged the validity of the amendments incorporated by the state government into several provisions of the Odisha Universities Act of 1989 in November 2020.

The Amendment Act of 2020, which was notified in the Odisha Gazette and came into force on September 4, 2020, was upheld by a Bench headed by Chief Justice S Muralidhar on Monday, January 24, observing that the changes made in the procedure of recruitment of vice-chancellors and teachers for various universities are not unconstitutional.

During the course of adjudication of the petitions, pursuant to HC notices, the state government and the UGC had submitted counter-affidavits. In its 54-page judgment, the High Court was of the opinion that the amendments made to the original Act of 1989 do not denude the autonomy of the state universities as claimed by the petitioners.

The High Court also observed that the changes made in the procedure of recruitment of vice-chancellors and other teaching staff are not manifested arbitrarily. The contention on behalf of the state that the amendment does not dilute the minimum standards for the appointment of a VC, merits acceptance, the High Court said.

Biswabasu Dash, an office-bearer of the state unit of All India Save Education Committee, Kunja Behary Panda and five other teachers of various universities of Odisha and Ajit Kumar Mohanty, a National fellow of JNU had challenged the amended Act, in which, the common respondents were the state government, UGC and the Union government.

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