Allahabad HC dismisses petition challenging AMU VC appointment

The Allahabad High Court has dismissed a petition challenging the appointment of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU)’s Vice-Chancellor Lt Gen (Retd) Zameer Uddin Shah, noting “nothing wrong with the procedure (adopted)”.

Shah’s appointment on May 11, 2012 was challenged on the ground that, as per the regulations of University Grants Commission (UGC), the V-C ought to have worked for at least 10 years as a professor in a University or on an equivalent post in a research or academic institute.

The petitioner (Syed Abrar Ahmed, an alumni of the University) had argued that the regulations — which pertained to minimum qualifications and maintenance of standards in the higher education — had become binding on the AMU when it had adopted these on December 6, 2010. Pointing out that many universities had included these clauses and regulations in their advertisements while recruiting V-Cs, there was no reason for the AMU not to insist on such qualifications while zeroing in on its own V-C (Shah, in this case).

Shah, although a highly decorated officer of the Army and who has also held responsibilities in foreign missions, did not have the requisite academic qualifications, the petitioner had claimed.

The AMU, through its counsel R A Akhtar and senior advocate Shashi Nandan, pointed out that the appointment was “as per rules”. “The adoption of the UGC regulations by the AMU (on December 6, 2010) was not done in entirety and the clause pertaining to minimum qualification — 7.3.0 — was kept in abeyance for further deliberation,” the AMU’s counsel told the court.

Hearing the arguments, the division bench of Justices Dilip Gupta and Vinod Kumar Misra agreed with the respondent’s (AMU) contention. “There is nothing on record to indicate that the University subsequently adopted Clause 7.3.0 (of the UGC Regulations) or that the Act/Statutes of the University had been amended to give effect to the provisions of the Clause 7.3.0,” the court said.

It further noted that the AMU V-C was “well within his rights” to keep a certain part of the UGC Regulations in abeyance for further deliberation.

“Mere adoption of the UGC Regulations (on December 6, 2010) did not mean that the entire set of regulations had been adopted,” the court said. “Even so, unless the Acts and Statutes of the University were amended accordingly, the new Regulations could not take place,” it added, reported Indian Express.

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