The High Court of Punjab and Haryana has ordered the central government to consider converting Punjab University (PU) into a central university.
“The character of the university as an inter-state body is already extinguished… Punjab has only the ease of affiliation with consequent benefits even those on financial contributions,” observed the bench of justice Rajbir Sehrawat, seeking a response from the Ministries of Interior and the Union of the Union. education after making a “conscious decision” before August 30.
“Let the decision taken by the central government, at least in principle, be submitted to the court at the next hearing date,” he added.
The court was hearing a plea from a retired PU teacher, Sangeeta Bhalla, who retired at the age of 60 and requested an extension of service to 65.
In 2016, a single-judge HC bench rejected the UP teachers’ plea on the same claim. The decision was suspended by the division bench. Since then, those retiring from PU must approach HC for an extension of service.
Center has previously argued that the status of PU is that of an inter-state body corporate, given the stake of the Punjab government. Successive Punjab governments have opposed changing its status regardless of the ruling party in the state.
The court observed that the Center had given notice in March that the Central Service rules would apply to employees in Chandigarh, including teachers at tertiary institutions. However, this did not cover UP teachers or those serving in its affiliated colleges.
A pre-independence university, established under the Panjab University Act 1947, under the provisions of Section 72 of the Reorganization Act 1966, PU was declared an interstate body corporate, with the participation of the Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. With that, the power to make laws relating to PU was with the Center, he observed.
“Therefore, the government of any of the states had no right to participate, with respect to the making of the law regulating the UP,” the bench observed, adding that the participation of Himachal and Haryana ended in 1973. Even the question of affiliation of colleges to UP is to be decided by the central government. Thus, to this day, the UP is exclusively controlled, regulated and governed by the Center, he said.
“However, it has an executive and administrative structure as primitive as, probably, no other university has and which even allows foreigners to be deans of faculties, in addition to creating a constant brawl of academic politics and electoral disputes. . The same deserves to be rectified to ensure a pleasant academic environment, which is a prerequisite for ensuring excellence in academics and research,” the bench remarked on the oft-reported clashes between vice-chancellors and vice-chancellors. senators.
The bench further observed that the current mere waiver of affiliation of Punjab colleges did not prevent the Center from changing the legal status or character of UP, in particular, while it has already changed the law aimed at extinguishing the participation of two neighboring states in the administration of the university.