New Delhi: The Supreme Court reserved its judgment on the plea of the West Bengal government against the Calcutta High Court order that set aside the re-appointment of the vice-chancellor of Calcutta University.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli reserved the judgment after hearing Senior Advocate AM Singhvi that the HC passed the order and set aside the decision of the statutory authority.
At the outset, Singhvi said the HC order was passed after the verdict was reserved for several months. Justice Chandrachud responded, "Two months is not a long time for reserving judgment. Tell us, does the government have the power to re-appoint VCs?”
Singhvi replied, "Under Section 8 of the Calcutta University Act. Kindly have a look at provision 8(2).” At this, the bench asked, "Who had the original power under Section 8(2)? After the amendment what is the change that is brought about? The original power given to the Chancellor is not substituted by the amendment."
Singhvi submitted that, "The intention of amendment to Section 8(2) (a) is that the power vesting in the Chancellor is taken away in favour of the state government. Change of intent in the amendment is not dealt with by the Judge."
But the bench said, "One thing that is bothering us is Section 8(2) (a) does not specifically say who will appoint. What is the consequence of satisfaction that they become eligible for appointment? Is that an indicator that the appointment power is still with the Chancellor? Such a badly drafted amendment. Your client amended it to take over the power of the Chancellor, but it is badly drafted."