Neither VC, nor syndicate can suspend a professor, says LHC

Lahore High Court quashes inquiry against a GCU-F teacher.

Our Correspondent July 24, 2012


Declaring the suspension and initiation of a inquiry against a professor of the Government College University Faisalabad (GCU-F) by the varsity’s vice chancellor illegal, Justice Khalid Mehmood Khan of the Lahore High Court on Tuesday said that such actions can only be taken by ‘competent authority’ (the chancellor in this case). 

He was hearing a petition filed by Dr Shahid Mahmood Rana, formerly a GCU-F acting vice chancellor (VC) against Dr Zakir Hussain, the GCU-F VC, for initiating an inquiry against him and issuing suspension orders with the ‘approval of a syndicate’.

Justice Khan ruled a syndicate did not have the powers to appoint the petitioner as acting VC and hence it could not approve initiation of an inquiry against him.

Dr Rana, the Zoology Department chairman at the GCUF, was appointed as acting VC at the university on March 5, 2009 by the then chancellor and held the post for more than a year.

Dr Rana, through his counsel Advocate Tipu Salman Makhdoom, submitted that he had joined the university as a professor in September 2004. He said after serving as the acting VC for more than a year, he was removed from that post in October 2010.

He said the incumbent VC on May 14, 2011 held a meeting with the syndicate and accused his client of corruption and issued him a suspension order on May 16, 2011.

He said the LHC had later declared the suspension unlawful. He said the VC’s intra court appeal against the order and the appeal before the Supreme Court were also dismissed, but he still did not allow his client to rejoin the university.

He said the VC had also taken the case to the Anti Corruption Establishment (ACE) and instead of waiting for its outcome, placed the same charges before the syndicate for revalidation of the decision.

He said the VC, without bringing to the knowledge of the members of the syndicate the status of the investigation by the ACE, managed the revalidation of the actions which were earlier declared illegal by the LHC on July 29, 2011. He said the VC had also initiated an inquiry against his client by illegally hanging the inquiry team comprising junior faculty members on December 23, 2011.

He said the VC did not assign any teaching or research work to his client, but he (petitioner) still continued his research. He said in recognition of his work the Pakistan Council for Science and Technology selected the petitioner for merit list of Scientists and Engineers for Research Productivity Award 2011-2012.

He said during this time the petitioner had approached the VC to issue him a no objection certificate so he could apply for jobs abroad, but he was refused by the VC.

He said the issuance of suspension orders and initiation of the inquiry against his client were attempts to harass, black mail and pressure the petitioner and had no legal value.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2012.

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