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Notice to UGC Chairman

By Our Staff Reporter

CHENNAI, OCT. 20. The Madras High Court has issued a notice to the University Grants Commission Chairman, Arun Nigavekar, on a quo warranto petition to show-cause as to on what authority he was holding the post.

The notice was ordered by Justice D. Murugesan on a petition filed by K.R. Natarajan who contended that Mr. Nigavekar, appointed in July 2002, was ineligible to hold the post as he had already held the posts of the Member and Vice-Chairman from 1992. As per proviso to Section 6 of the UGC Act, a person who had held the office of a member and vice-chairman is ineligible for further appointment as Chairman or vice-chairman or even member. "If any other meaning is attempted to be given to Section 6 of the Act, it will definitely be in violation of the real meaning of the provision and also the object and purpose for which the proviso was inserted." In this regard, the petitioner said that a Search Committee, formed in March 2002, for recommending a candidate for being appointed Chairman had cleared the name of Mr. Nigavekar, but without disclosing the methodology adopted for selecting him. The petitioner referred to a letter written by the Chairman of the Committee to the then Minister for Human Resources Development in April 2002, and said, "the committee is to report only to the HRD Ministry Secretary and not directly to the Minister. The act of writing to the Minister evidently shows the interest of the Minister in appointing Mr. Nigavekar." Though the tenure of a Chairman was five years, Mr. Nigavekar who had been already holding the post of Vice-Chairman, was posted for the "remaining period."

He prayed for an interim injunction restraining the Chairman from continuing to hold the post "in contravention of various statutory provisions, regulations and procedures."

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