Home Judiciary Apex Court Stays Odisha Varsity Act

Apex Court Stays Odisha Varsity Act

New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India (SC) on Friday issued a stay on the Odisha Universities (Amendment) Act, 2020, which was enacted in September 2020.  

A division bench of SC judges comprising Justice SA Nazeer and Justice Krishan Murari stayed the Act for the next three months after hearing a petition filed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and retired professor of JNU Ajit Kumar Mohanty.

The petitioners have opposed the act through which the State Government wanted to regulate the appointment of teachers and other staff through the Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC), which is against the norms set by the UGC

The court sought a reply from the Odisha Government and set the date for the next hearing on the matter after two months.

In January this year, the Orissa High Court had upheld the validity of the Act dismissing three petitions that had challenged it. The High Court bench headed by Chief Justice S Muralidhar observed that the changes made in the procedure of recruitment of Vice-Chancellors and teachers for various universities were not unconstitutional.

The Amendment Act of 2020, which was notified in the Odisha Gazette and came into force on September 4, 2020 did away with Odisha University Act and took away the power of recruitment of teaching staff of state-run universities from the respective Senates and gave it to the Odisha Public Service Commission.

As the UGC Regulations are mandatory and as per UGC Regulations, 2018 every university or institution deemed to be university, as the case may be, shall as soon as may be, but not later than within six months of the coming into force of these Regulations, take effective steps for the amendment of the statutes, ordinances or other statutory provisions governing it, so as to bring the same in accordance with these Regulations.

However,  the Odisha Universities (Amendment) Act, 2020 is violative of the UGC Regulations 2018 and therefore the High Court of Orissa judgment was erroneous, claimed the UGC.