Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday quashed the appointment of Prof. N.K. Loknath as the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of University of Mysore (UoM).
A single Judge Bench of the HC comprising Justice N.S. Sanjay Gowda delivered the verdict while allowing the two petitions — one by Sharath Ananthamurthy, a Professor in the School of Physics, University of Hyderabad and the other by Prof. G. Venkatesh Kumar, a retired Head of the Department of Psychology, UoM. Both were among the contenders for the VC post.
The petitions claimed that the Search-cum-Selection Committee, despite recording adverse remarks against Prof. Loknath in its report on the scrutiny of candidates, had later illegally included his name in the panel of three names recommended for the post.
It was alleged that, Prof. Loknath had concealed the fact that a criminal case was pending against him and his name was included at the last minute though his name did not initially figure in the list of the three names, who included Prof. Sharath Ananthamurthy, Prof. Venkatesh Kumar and Prof. Guru, recommended by the Committee. The Court also directed the State Government to initiate a fresh process to select a VC by appointing a fresh Search Committee by following the procedure prescribed in the Karnataka State Universities Act.
Senior Counsel Ravivarma Kumar, who is also a former State Advocate-General, had argued on behalf of Prof. Sharath Ananthamurthy.
Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot, who is also the Chancellor of all Universities, acting on the recommendation of the Search Committee, had on Mar.23, 2023, appointed Prof. Loknath as the VC following which Prof. Loknath had taken charge on Mar.24. The High Court on June 21,2023, had stayed the appointment of Prof. Loknath as VC and since then, the University functioned without a regular VC or an acting VC.
Reacting to the HC order, Prof. Sharath Ananthamurthy (son of renowned writer late Prof. U.R. Ananthamurthy), said he had moved the High Court alleging that there was gross violation of the UGC norms in the appointment. The HC, taking note of his arguments, has quashed the appointment of Prof. Loknath and now a new VC has to be appointed through a fresh selection process. “ I will once again apply for the post,” he asserted.
UoM Registrar V. R. Shylaja said that she has no information about the HC order as she is yet to receive a copy of it.