Delhi HC cancels JNU appointment of CSPILAS president citing statutes

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Professor Rajiv Saxena had filed a petition against the appointment of Professor Mazhar Asif as president of CSPILAS on February 1, claiming that it was against the statutes because he was not a teacher at the center.

Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. (To file)

The Delhi High Court overturned the appointment of the current president of the Center for Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Latin American Studies (CSPILAS) at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), after a professor at the center contested by invoking the statutes of the university.

Professor Rajiv Saxena had filed a petition against the appointment of Professor Mazhar Asif as president of CSPILAS on February 1, claiming that it was against the statutes because he was not a teacher at the center. Asif teaches at the Center for Persian and Central Asian Studies.

Saxena, in his petition, said a letter from the university, dated June 30, said two professors at the center – including himself – could not be named presidents because he had already completed two consecutive terms. as president and the other was “replaced as president during his tenure due to some misconduct”.

Bylaw 18 (2) (c) (I) of the JNU Statutes states: “Each Center / Department shall have a President who will be appointed by the Executive Board from among Professors / Senior Fellows for two years. Provided that in a Center / Department there is only one Principal Professor / Fellow, the Executive Board may also appoint one of the Associate Professors / Fellows as the Chair of the Center / Department.

In his order dated September 17, Judge V Kameswar Rao said: “There is no doubt that Jawaharlal Nehru University was established under the law of 1966 and is governed by the statutes and ordinances which are of statutory nature. It is Statute 18 of the Statutes which governs the appointment of the President of all the Centers belonging to the School, including the CSPILAS.

Quoting the statute, he said: “It is clear from the above that the chair of the center / department is to be appointed from among the senior professors / fellows for a period of two years. It is not stipulated that the appointment cannot be renewed beyond two years. Although there is no specific stipulation that the main professors / fellows must come from the same center / department, but the reservation clause more specifically the words “when in a center / department there is only ‘a single professor / principal researcher, the Executive Board may also appoint one of the associate professors / fellows as chair of the center / department. specifies that the teacher (s) must be from the same center.

Rao rejected the petition by “canceling” Asif’s appointment as president of CSPILAS. “The freedom belongs to the University to proceed according to the law,” he said.

This is not the first such case. In 2019, the Delhi HC rescinded the appointment of an external chairperson at the Linguistic Center and ordered the Executive Council to appoint a chairperson “in accordance with practice and law”.

Last year, in August, the Delhi HC also asked the president of the Center for Studies on the Informal Sector and Labor not to take any “substantive decisions” until a permanent appointment was made. , after his appointment as president was challenged on the same grounds.

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