Published: 11th February 2022
TN govt directed by Madras High Court to furnish inquiry report to former VC of Anna University
Originally, the former Vice-Chancellor filed his petition seeking to quash the government order dated November 11, 2020, issued by the Department of Higher Education
The Government of Tamil Nadu has been directed by the Madras High Court to furnish a copy of Justice AK Kalaiarasan's inquiry report to MK Surappa, former Vice-Chancellor of Anna University.
Apart from disposing of Surappa's writ petition, the high court has directed the Department of Higher Education, Government of Tamil Nadu, which as per the order dated November 11, 2020 had constituted a commission that went into the allegations that have been levelled against MK Surappa, to furnish the report, which is dated June 28, 2021, along with enclosures. This needs to be done within 15 days, as stated in a report by PTI.
"It is very strange that the government, for no valid reason, has come up with a rigid stand against furnishing of a report to the petitioner, unmindful of its legal implication that any decision taken at the end of the day would certainly become too vulnerable to judicial interference. The view of the government is antithetical to the concept of reasonableness and fairness in action as embedded in Article 14 of the Constitution," Justice V Parthiban said.
Upon receiving the report along with the enclosures, it's up to the petitioner to submit his objections or explanations within four weeks thereafter.
If the government would still be keen on perusing the matter, any action culminating in the advice to the Chancellor in terms of Section 11(4B) of the Anna University Act, 1978, the same shall be done after the petitioner's objections or explanation are received within the stipulated time by the court, the judge shared.
The court also observed that the requirement to comply with the natural justice's fundamental principles, specifically that no one should be condemned unheard, is not optional. In the absence of a specific provision, the principle must be read into every statute and regulation as held by the courts.
The court also said that it does not see any rationale as to why the government is not furnishing a copy of the report even when in any departmental disciplinary proceedings, scrupulously, the process of furnishing the inquiry report is being followed. Especially because judicial intervention is feared. In this light, the government's contrived stand is unacceptable, the court said.
Failure to furnish the report would lead to a travesty of justice, the court said. Nevertheless, in the face of certain detrimental findings in the report, the petitioner's explanation and his version must be part of the inquiry proceedings, as his vindication, the judge added.
Originally, the former Vice-Chancellor filed his petition seeking to quash the government order dated November 11, 2020, issued by the Department of Higher Education which constituted Justice Kalaiarasan panel of inquiry. Later on, he amended the prayer, stating that it would be enough if a copy of the commission's findings are furnished to him.