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Petition against Indian Maritime University notification dismissed

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Deprecating the manner in which a public interest litigation petition was filed, the Madras High Court has said the petitioner has abused the court's jurisdiction by resorting to litigation to promote the private interest of a particular individual who happens to be the association president and also running a maritime institute.

In his petition, The Maritime Institutes Association, represented by its secretary, C.V.Jothikumar, sought to quash a notification of the Indian Maritime University (IMU), Uthandi near here, publishing the admission and application details for 2010 for admission to the three-year B.Sc (Nautical) degree course and Diploma in Nautical Science (DNS). He also sought to quash a portion of the notification relating to the programme duration in so far as it enabled the sponsoring companies to interfere in the students' admission. He sought a direction to the university to admit students on merit ranking and complete the process of counselling in a fair and transparent manner.

The petitioner's grievance was that the university in order to favour various other maritime institutes had given unfettered discretion to them and introduced certain clauses in the admission notification giving them wide powers. These clauses should be set aside.

Dismissing the petition, the First Bench comprising Chief Justice M.Y.Eqbal and Justice T.S.Sivagnanam said the petitioner's allegations were incorrect and mischievous.

The association president who was running an institution called International Maritime Academy had conducted DNS programme for sometime.

After the programme was transferred to the IMU in August 2009, the institute applied to the university for affiliation. The institute had filed a writ petition before the High Court for grant of affiliation. The court issued direction.

An inspection was conducted and the university was willing to grant approval/affiliation for 40 students in DNS course, but the institute wanted 160 students as its intake, which was rejected since the institute did not have the requisite infrastructural facility.

This appears to have triggered the present writ petition styled as a PIL petition in the name of the association in which J.Senthilkumar was the president as well as the director.

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