Vice Chancellor_ University of Kerala Vs. Dr. Tresa Radhakrishnan by KeralaLaw



WA.No. 261 of 2011()

            ... Petitioner


            ... Respondent






          For Petitioner :SRI.K.GOPALAKRISHNA KURUP (SR.)

          For Respondent :SRI.SHAJI P.CHALY

The Hon'ble MR. Justice K.SURENDRA MOHAN

Dated :23/02/2011

             C.N.RAMACHANDRAN NAIR &
                  K.SURENDRA MOHAN, JJ.
           Writ Appeal Nos.261 & 271 of 2011
        Dated this the 23rd day of February, 2011.


Ramachandran Nair, J.

   The connected Writ Appeals are filed against common judgment

of the learned Single Judge vacating the orders of nomination of
Senate members by the Chancellor under the category reserved for

Heads of Departments of the University as provided under Section 17

(13) of the Kerala University Act, 1974 (hereinafter called "the Act").

We have heard Senior counsel appearing for the appellants and counsel

appearing for some of the contesting parties, all of whom took notice

on admission and argued the matter.

   2. Writ Petition was filed by the Head of the Department of

Aquatic Biology and Fisheries which is a Department under the

University of Kerala, first respondent in both the Writ Appeals,

challenging appointment of seven Heads of Departments of the

University as Senate Members by the Chancellor based on the

recommendation of the Vice Chancellor. The learned Single Judge
W.A. 261&271/2011                 2

found that the selection by the Vice Chancellor was not in accordance

with the statutory provision and all what the Chancellor did was to

approve the list of candidates sent by the Vice Chancellor for selection.

The appellants' case is that the Vice Chancellor prepared the list of

eligible Heads of Departments strictly in terms of the statutory

provision and the Chancellor accepted the same. In order to consider

the controversy, we have to necessarily refer to the relevant provision

of the Act which is as follows:

        "S.17.Senate:- The Senate shall consist of the
   following members, namely:-



        (13) Seven heads of University departments who are
    not otherwise members of the Senate, to be nominated in the
    order of seniority by the Chancellor by rotation".

The object of the above provision is obviously to have the various

Departments of the University represented in the Senate through the

Heads of the Departments.         Since all the Departments cannot be

represented at a time, representation by rotation is provided based on

the seniority. The Act came into force on 27.7.1974 and when the first

nomination was made on 30.12.1975, the University had only 24
W.A. 261&271/2011                3

departments. However, in the course of last several years the number

of Departments increased and as of now, the University has 41

Departments.     Going by the above provision, at a time only 7

Departments can have representation in the Senate through the Heads

of Departments and the tenure of the Senate members is two years.

So much so, it takes six terms i.e. around 12 years, to have every

Department represented once in the Senate. In other words, in a cycle

of every 12 years, each Department would have represented once in the

Senate. Nomination by rotation and in the order of seniority referred to

in the above provision obviously means that nomination should be

based on the seniority of the Departments or in other words, the first

established Department will get first nomination in preference to the

Departments established later. Once a full cycle is over providing

representation to all the Departments, the next cycle should start from

the top and the same should continue. From the details furnished to us

what is clear is that so far nominations have been made from Heads of

Departments on an erratic manner without following any system.

Going by the statistics furnished, we notice that the last representation

of the first Department i.e. Aquatic Biology and Fisheries, the Head of

which is the petitioner in the W.P.(C), in the Senate was in 1986 which
W.A. 261&271/2011                4

means that for quarter of a century that department had no

representation. Going by the last year of nomination of the Heads of

Departments of various Departments in the Senate, we notice that the

Departments of Geology and Linguistics had no representation in the

Senate for the last 28 years.     The position is almost same for

Departments of Mathematics, Biochemistry, Education, Psychology

etc. where the Departments had no representation for the last over 20

years. While the case of the first respondent who is the petitioner in

the W.P.(C) is that if rotation by seniority is taken, the present

nomination by the Chancellor based on advice by the Vice Chancellor

is unsustainable, the case of the appellants is that all the seven

Departments, the Heads of Departments of whom are nominated, had

so far only one representation in the Senate, while most of the other

Departments had two or more representations in the Senate so far. In

fact, even after nominations of the seven Heads of Departments as of

now, still a few more Departments are left which were started recently

which had represented the Senate only once.           Counsel for the

appellants specifically pointed out that the Departments of Computer

Science, Islamic Studies, Law, Future Studies and Institute of

Management in Kerala were started 20-25 years back and all these
W.A. 261&271/2011                5

Departments were only once represented in the Senate and, therefore,

the nomination of the Heads of these Departments a second round is

not violative of Section 17(13) of the Act. However, counsel for the

respondents specifically pointed out the cases of Departments of

Optoelectronics and Biotechnology which were started in the year 1995

and were already represented in the Senate through nominations made

in 1995.   In the course of just over 15 years the Heads of these

Departments are nominated a second round to the Senate, while ever so

many Departments as stated above have not been represented in the

Senate for 22-28 years.

   3. The learned Single Judge while considering the W.P.(C) called

for report from the Chancellor's office and the Chancellor fairly

conceded that he did not make any nomination of his own, but made

nominations by just following the list submitted by the Vice

Chancellor.    The Vice Chancellor's recommendation sent to the

Chancellor vide his communication dated 11.5.2010 is produced in this

court along with Ext.R1(a) statement submitted on behalf of the

Chancellor. It is seen that the Vice Chancellor has not forwarded the

details of representations of Departments hitherto made in the Senate

and he has in fact prepared a list of 12 persons stating that the same is
W.A. 261&271/2011                6

prepared in the order of seniority by the Department and by rotation in

terms of SEction 17(13) of the Act. The learned Single Judge holding

that the Chancellor has not exercised jurisdiction in accordance with

the statute, set aside the same with direction to the Chancellor to

reconsider the matter and issue fresh orders strictly based on the norms

prescribed under the statute.

    4. We do not find any ground to interfere with the judgment of

the learned Single Judge because the Chancellor has fairly conceded

that he has only gone by the advice of the Vice Chancellor who as

already stated above has not prepared the list for nomination in

accordance with the seniority or rotation for representation of the

various University Departments in the Senate in terms of Section 17

(13) of the Act. As already found by us, seniority referred to in the

Section is seniority of the Department and not interse seniority of the

Heads of various Departments.         This obviously means that the

Departments started by the University should get representation in the

order in which such Departments were started and once the cycle is

complete, repeated round of nomination should start from the

beginning. What is seen from the details furnished is that out of the

Heads of seven Departments nominated, five were last represented in
W.A. 261&271/2011               7

the Senate through nominations made in 1995 and so far as the other

two are concerned, i.e. Departments of Computer Science and Law, the

last nomination of those Departments to the Senate was in 1988 and

1989 respectively. Since several Departments were not represented in

the Senate for the last 22 years, we feel such Departments should get

preference over those which are represented in 1995. Of course only

seven Department Heads can be nominated now and there are more

than seven Departments which were not represented for the last more

than 22 years. From among the equally eligible Departments to be

considered for selection for nomination, we feel the Chancellor should

take into account the number of previous representations          such

Departments got in the Senate so that Departments which got the lesser

number of representations should get representation this time. In any

case the Chancellor has to make selection by taking into account the

statutory provision as explained by us above. It is not for the Vice

Chancellor to make selection and send it to the Chancellor for

approval. The Chancellor certainly needs the assistance of the Vice

Chancellor and in this regard he has to furnish the relevant particulars

such as the names of Departments, year of their establishment and the

years in which the various Departments were given representation in
W.A. 261&271/2011               8

the Senate for the Chancellor to consider while making selection.

   Writ Appeals are accordingly disposed of upholding in principle

the judgment of the learned Single Judge and by directing the

Chancellor to make selection to the Senate from the Heads of the

Departments in terms of Section 17(13) of the Act and in the light of

our observations above and observations and directions of the learned

Single Judge which are consistent with our findings above. However,

we make it clear that election to the Syndicate can go on.

                       C.N.RAMACHANDRAN NAIR

                       K.SURENDRA MOHAN


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