HC sets aside annulment of University of Mysore teaching staff
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HC sets aside annulment of University of Mysore teaching staff

Mysuru: The High Court has set aside the State Government’s order of annulling the appointment of teaching staff of University of Mysore including that of former in-charge Vice-Chancellor Prof. C. Basavaraju. In all, the appointments of 113 teaching staff including 9 Professors and 30 Readers have been upheld.

High Court Justice A.S. Bopanna passed the order yesterday while disposing of the petitions filed by Praveena K.B. and others, who are working in various posts. When Prof. J. Shashidhar Prasad was the Vice Chancellor, 113 teaching staff including Prof. Basavaraju, Prof. Hemanth Kumar, Prof Rai, Prof. Sridhar and others were appointed in 2007.

There were allegations that the appointments were illegal. As there were lot of complaints, a one-man committee headed by Justice H. Rangavittalachar, a retired judge of the Karnataka High Court was constituted to look into the allegations. The committee had submitted a report to the government recommending it to stay the appointments. It had pointed out that the University had violated various norms governing the appointment process.

Based on the report, the State Government on June 18, 2014, had annulled the appointments of all the 113 teaching staff. Questioning this move, all of them had gone in appeal to the High Court.

The Court had in 2014 stayed the annulment and all the teachers continued working in their respective posts.

Though Section 10 (1) of the Karnataka State Universities Act 2000 mandates the State to afford an opportunity to the University before annulling any decision of the University for not being in conformity with the provisions of the Act, the court found that an interpretation of this provision of the Act by the High Court has made mandatory for the government to use notice to the individually-affected persons from the action of annulment.

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Even though the decision of the High Court is a big setback for the Government, justice seems to have been done for the 113 teaching staff. Also with this verdict the stigma attached to Prof. Shashidhar Prasad has been removed. Advocates Ashok Harnahalli and Bhagavath had argued before the court on behalf of the teachers.

I had not violated the University rules and followed all the due process while appointing 113 teaching staff. The UGC guidelines were followed and the appointments were done based on the directions from the government. Its approval was also sought for the appointments. However, a few people deliberately tried to annul the appointments. When I brought this to the notice of my father Dejagow (late Prof. D. Javaregowda, former Vice-Chancellor of University of Mysore), he had told me with a wry smile, ‘Do not be afraid. If you have followed the Dharma it will save you.’ I was not at all anxious. I was confident that I would get justice from the Court. Truth has triumphed. The stigma attached to me has been removed. – Prof. J. Shashidhar Prasad, former Vice-Chancellor, University of Mysore

July 7, 2018

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