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V-C search panels: Governor had no other option but to add nominee of UGC

CHENNAI: Governor R N Ravi had ‘no other option’ but to add the nominee of the UGC chairman and reconstitute the search-cum-selection committee and notify it since the state government did not reconstitute the committee as per UGC regulations, despite repeated reminders.
A report submitted by attorney general R Venkataramani before the Supreme Court on Monday, among other things, sought to clarify the issue of notification by the governor regarding the search committee for selection of vice-chancellors in three state Universities, including the Bharathiar University, Tamil Nadu Teachers Education University and University of Madras.
The state government had notified the search-cum-selection committee for selection of Bharathiar University and Tamil Nadu Teachers Education University. The Supreme Court in its verdict in October last year, however, stated that “any appointment of vice-chancellor made on the recommendation of the search committee which is constituted contrary to the UGC Regulations shall be void ab inito”.
The report said, “The UGC Regulations require a nominee of the UGC chairman to be part of the search-cum-selection committee. Written communications were sent to the government to reconstitute the search-cum-selection committee as per the above judgment and UGC Regulations, 2018.”
In the case of the University of Madras, the governor-chancellor has added the UGC chairman’s nominee and constituted the search-cum-selection committee, the report added.
As conflict escalated, the state government had on September 13, notified a search-cum-selection committee for the appointment of vice-chancellor of University of Madras. The state’s notification left UGC chairman’s nominee, Prof HCS Rathore, former vice-chancellor of the Central University of South Bihar, as notified by the Raj Bhavan, as one of the members.
The government also challenged the constitution of the search-cum-selection committees in the three Universities by the governor in the Supreme Court. The contention was that they were contrary to the statutes of the state Universities.

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