The high court made it clear that Mr Chellathurai shall not be precluded from applying again.
The Supreme Court agreed to hear, on Wednesday, a special leave petition (SLP) filed by P.P. Chellathurai against a verdict by the Madurai bench of the Madras high court quashing his appointment as the vice-chancellor (VC) of Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU). A vacation bench of Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Indu Malhotra posted the SLP for hearing on June 20 on a mention made by counsel Bina Madhavan seeking urgent listing of the matter.
On June 14, the high court had set aside the appointment of Mr Chellathurai. while allowing a petition filed by M Lionel Antony Raj, challenging his appointment on the ground of violation of procedure.
The high court, agreeing with the petitioner, held that there is a clear violation of statute of Madurai Kamaraj University Act 1965. More importantly, such violation pertains to the selection process and procedure.
While unseating the VC, the court issued certain directions for redoing the selection process and appointment of VC of MKU in accordance with the statute and by following the process and procedure for selection in letter and spirit.
The high court set aside the appointment on the ground that the proceedings of the search committee are flawed without expressing any opinion on eligibility and noticing that Mr Chellathurai has been dropped/deleted from the criminal case/chargesheet after further investigation.
On May 27, 2017, the Tamil Nadu governor had appointed Mr Chellathurai as the VC. Subsequently, M Lionel Antony Raj filed a case, stating Mr Chellathurai was not at all eligible to be appointed as he lacked qualification. A criminal case was also pending against him.
The high court made it clear that Mr Chellathurai shall not be precluded from applying again. If he chooses to do so, the committee shall evaluate the candidature uninfluenced by these proceedings or anything that might have been said in this order or in the course of these proceedings. Such fresh evaluation shall be with regard to both eligibility and suitability.
The SLP, which is directed against this order, prayed for an interim stay of its operation.