Justice Ijazul Ahsan of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday refused to hear several identical petitions challenging the process for the appointment of vice chancellors (VC) at six public universities and the composition of the search committee.
The judge referred the case to the chief justice for constitution of a larger bench to hear the matter.
Justice Ahsan observed that since he was a member of the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) syndicate, one of the universities on the list awaiting a VC’s appointment, it was not appropriate for him to proceed with the case.
Advocate Anwar Kamal, counsel for a petitioner, said that many judges were members of syndicates of various universities, therefore, the matter should be fixed before a larger bench.
The petitioners said that they had applied for the job as they met the PhD qualifications, mentioned in the advertisement.
However, the search committee later changed the criteria and preferences and accepted applications from foreign qualified candidates only. They said call letters were only issued to the candidates who had PhD degrees from a list of top 500 universities of the world.
They said candidates with local PhD degrees were excluded from the list. They said that the search committee lacked proper rules, regulations and policy guidelines for selecting and appointing members.
They pointed out that none of the members of the search committee had a PhD degree or had any teaching experience.
They said the entire selection process for the posts of VCs lacked legal basis and a credible mechanism. They requested the court to set aside the changes made by the committee and direct them to consider local PhDs for the post.
The Punjab government has already filed its reply stating that the petitioners were not called for interviews as they did not meet the criteria for the job.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2011.
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