The Telangana High Court on Monday pulled up the state government and sought an explanation from it, on its decision to appoint IAS officers and senior bureaucrats as Vice-Chancellors to universities located in the state.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice RS Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that had challenged the move by the state.
The petitioner, Dr S Karunakar Reddy, who is an assistant professor from Osmania University's Department of Botany, had asked the court to suspend the circular which had made the appointments, as the state government failed to follow the rules.
The petitioner argued that it was a violation of the Universities Act and guidelines laid down by the University Grants Commission (UGC). He also cited Supreme Court judgements to strengthen his argument.
Dr Karunakar Reddy sought directions from the court to appoint the senior-most faculty member as caretaker VCs, until the final appointments were made.
After hearing his side, the court issued notices to the state government and sought a detailed explanation on the issue within four weeks. It also issued notices to several universities in the state to explain their stand.
Following the end of tenure of eight VCs in July last year, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government had appointed IAS officers already holding other positions in different government departments as caretaker VCs.
Principal Secretary of Municipal Administration and Urban Development Arvind Kumar had been given the charge of Osmania University and Mahatma Gandhi Universities while Secretary of IT department Jayesh Ranjan for JNTU-Hyderabad, to name a few.
Opposition parties as well as academics and student leaders had alleged that the “deliberate delay” in appointing permanent VCs was diluting the interests of the public universities in the state.
Student leaders also said that the decision to appoint bureaucrats as VCs was nothing but a move to take over the universities into the government’s fold by subverting their autonomy.