[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n a yet another setback for Aligarh Muslim University, the Kerala High Court has quashed appointments of four Assistant Professors appointed in the Department of Business Administration at Malappuram Centre of Aligarh Muslim University, Kerala.
These appointments were made by the selection committee in violation of the UGC norms, in 2016, chaired by the then Vice Chancellor Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah who has been in spotlight recently for his book The Sarkari Musalman.
Dr Hamza V K, the petitioner, challenged the selection process on the ground of non-adherence to the UGC regulations on Minimum Qualifications for Appointment of Teachers and other Academic Staff in Universities and Colleges and Measures for the Maintenance of Standards in Higher Education-2010. Dr Hamza was one of the candidates called for the interview for the said post, but could not get through.
As per Regulation 6.0.1 of the said UCG Regulations, the selection committee has to follow three criteria with regard to the selection of Assistant Professor. The marks were segregated for components of Academic Records and Research Performance (50%), Assessment of Domain Knowledge and Teaching Skills (30%) and Interview Performance (20%). (see the table below)
The University awarded consolidated marks in the interview in the scale of 10. However, the marks were not segregated under different heads. The University stated that the marks were awarded by the selection committee only after adverting to the aforementioned criteria. However, the petitioner argued that the marks awarded were only based on the performance in the interview.
Writing the judgment for the Court, Justice A Muhamed Mushtaque held that it was clear that the University had not followed the UGC Regulations. The marks awarded under the first two categories: ‘a’ and ‘b’ (see table above) are based on pre-existing factors. The UGC “consciously” fixed the marks for interview as 20% in order to avoid arbitrariness. It also held that the University cannot award consolidated marks and should award the marks separately under the categories provided.
The marks now awarded shall not be taken as the interview marks alone as there is no segregation. The selection committee is bound to follow the tabulation statement of assessment of marks. It was found that marks were given in “age” factor. The Court stated that as per the UGC Regulations, no marks can be awarded reckoning “age” as a factor. The University may prescribe any criteria which is not repugnant to the minimum standards as prescribed by the UGC.
Court has directed the University to conduct fresh selection for the post of Assistant Professors in Department MBA within two months. Court has also made it clear that only those applicants will be called for interviews who were short-listed for interview earlier in pursuant to the notification dated December 16, 2015. Till the fresh selection is made, the assistant professors whose appointments have been quashed can continue in their office, said Justice Mushtaque.
This is the third instance when the Kerala High Court has quashed the appointments made by the Aligarh Muslim University at AMU’s Malappuram Centre during the tenure of former Vice Chancellor, Lt. Gen Shah. In 2016, Kerala High Court had quashed the appointment of one Naseema P K who was appointed as Assistant Professor in Department of Law, AMU Centre Malappuram, who otherwise was not eligible even for being short-listed for the interview.
Before the ink in the earlier judgment of the Kerala High Court annulling the appointment of an Assistant Professor in Law had dried up, another major embarrassment was faced by AMU when the Division Bench of the Kerala High Court consisting of Justices Antony Dominic and P V Asha while setting aside the judgment of the single judge, quashed the illegal appointment of Dr H Abdul Azeez as the Director of AMU Centre Malappuram. He was appointed in 2014 through a backdoor out of a wait list which had already lapsed upon the joining of the then incumbent Director in 2013.
All such dubious and questionable appointments were made when Lt Gen Shah was the VC of the AMU.
Read the judgment of the Kerala High Court.
[Banner image courtesy LiveLaw]