Tuesday, March 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Govt explores legal avenues to oust VC
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The Punjab Government is probing all legal possibilities to “ remove” Mr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, who is facing criminal charges, as Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University.

A senior functionary of the Punjab Chief Minister’s office told TNS today that it had come to the notice of the government that the Vice-Chancellor was running the affairs of the university while staying away from his office on the campus. He said the Higher Education Department authorities had been told to examine all legal aspects to deal with the prevailing situation in this connection.

He said the government had no information regarding the whereabouts of the Vice- Chancellor, the police was looking for him and it had conducted raids at various places to trace him.

When contacted, Mr Y.S. Ratra, Chief Secretary, Punjab, said he was seized of the matter. “ I have got a file in this connection from the Higher Education Department authorities concerned. Only after examining the file, I would be able to tell that what can be done in case of Punjabi University”, said Mr Ratra.

A top functionary of the Higher Education Department said there was no provision in the Punjabi University Act to remove its Vice-Chancellor . The appointment of the Vice-Chancellor is made by the Chancellor of the University in consultation with the State Government.

In the Act, there is Section 9-A of the Act that deals with the Vice-Chancellor’s appointment, powers, duties etc. As per the Act, the government has only one option. There is a provision in the Act that in case of illness, absence or leave or any other contingency, “ the Chancellor may on the state government’s advice appoint any person to act as Vice-Chancellor for the disposal of the business during the period when the Vice-Chancellor is not in position”.

By using these provisions the Punjab Government might give charge of the office of the Vice-Chancellor to Mr N.S. Rattan, Principal Secretary, Higher Education.

A legal expert referring to the Jai Singh Dalal case, however, says that under Section 19 of the Punjab General Clauses Act, 1898, the authority passing an order has power to amend, vary and rescind the order, the rules or the bylaws. It means that the Chancellor, which is an appointing authority in case of the Vice-Chancellor, has the inherent power to amend, vary and alter the order he issued with regard to the Vice-Chancellor’s appointment.

Meanwhile, the government is facing another dilemma in connection with issuance of the appointment letter to those selected and recommended for appointment by the Punjab State Subordinate Services Board before its disbanding a week ago and also by the Punjab Public Services Commission.

A top government functionary said this issue was also being examination by legal and other experts. He said as persons concerned had been selected on the demand submitted by the state government, it would have to be legally probed that whether the government could refuse them appointment letter. A number of administrative secretaries have sought the opinion of the State Personnel Department in this connection.

The Health Department, according to sources, has stopped the issuance of appointment letters to 400 health workers selected by the board. Sources said whereas the Health Department had submitted the demand to recruit 200 health workers, the board has recommended 400 persons for appointment. Sources said the State Government had instructed the department to wait for sometime as far as the issuance of appointment letters to recommended persons was concerned because the matter was being examined at higher level.Back

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