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HNLU Raipur VC Sukh Pal Singh tenure ended by Chhattisgarh HC after 2014 extension held illegal

VC Sukh Pal Singh 2014 extension was not valid
VC Sukh Pal Singh 2014 extension was not valid

The re-appointment of Sukh Pal Singh, the vice chancellor of HNLU Raipur, was illegal, the Chhattisgarh high court held today, annulling the 2014 five-year-extension of his term.

The decision revolved around the executive council having tried to pass an amendment to the university’s codes to allow the extension of Singh’s term as VC, but this amendment turned out to be outside of the council’s powers, according to the high court.

The purported amendment should have first been assented to by the university’s chancellor under HNLU’s establishing act, which had not been done.

“Why the Executive Council was so hurry? Why the Executive Council proceeded in such a manner despite knowing fully the said legal position? Why the existing Vice-Chancellor of the University alone was authorised to meet the Chancellor of the University for assent of the so-called ‘proposed amendment’ which is going to be benefited to him only?" said the the high court bench of justices Goutam Bhaduri and Sanjay Agrawal in their judgment.

“Why could not have waited at least for issuance of publication, as required under sub-section (6) of Section 15 of the Act of 2003? All these acts of the Executive Council are not supported by the law, and therefore, illegal action of theirs cannot be held to be legalised subsequently,” they said, adding: “If such an act of the Executive Council [EC] is appreciated, the entire provisions of the Statute would have become redundant...”

The EC should have “refrained from doing anything at the cost of the reputation of the University”, they said.

The judges therefore held that the HNLU chancellor’s order dated 2 December 2014 extending Singh’s tenure by five years, was based on “an illegal recommendation” and “as such, no right whatsoever would confer upon him”.

The executive council’s recommendation on 6 September 2014 to extend Singh’s tenure would similarly “not be sustained as the Chancellor was not apprised with the actual facts by the University”, held the judges.

The writ petitioner was HNLU assistant professor Dr Avinash Samal, who was represented by advocate Amrito Das and Abhyuday Singh.

We have reached out to Samal and Sukh Pal Singh for comment earlier today by phone and messages.

Singh had joined HNLU as VC in 2011 from Banaras Hindu University, where he had been professor of law.

Singh had succeeded Paramjit Singh Jaswal, who had moved to RGNUL Patiala after three months in the job.

The writ had been admitted in 2016.

Read HC order (PDF)

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