BHAVE J -
(1.) THE petitioner is a registered graduate and is also a member of the Syndicate of the Vikram University, Ujjain. He has filed this petition under Articles 226 /227 of the Constitution of India, challenging the appointment of Dr. Shiv Mangal Singh (respondent No. 3), as Vice-Chancellor of the Vikram University.
(2.) UNDER section 10 (1) of the Madhya Bharat Vikram University Act, 1955, the Vice-chancellor is to be appointed by the Chancellor from a panel of three persons selected by Committee as constituted under clause 2. Clause (2) of section 10 reads as under:-
"The Committee referred to in sub-section (1) shall consist of three persons, two of whom shall be persons not connected with the University or a Constituent or affiliated College, nominated by the Syndicate and one person appointed by the Chancellor. The Chancellor shall appoint one of the three persons to be Chairman of the Committee: Provided that if the Chancellor does not approve of any of the persons so recommended he may call for fresh recommendations."
Consequent on the death of Shri Nand Dularey Bajpai, the post of Vice-Chancellor of the said University fell vacant and a committee, contemplated under sec- tion 10 (1) was to be constituted. It appears that a special meeting of the Syndicate was called for 8th April 1968 for the purpose of electing two persons to be nominated for the committee, but no decision could be taken in that meeting of the Syndicate for want of corum. In these circumstances, the Chancellor of the University advised respondent No. 4, Registrar of the said University, who was also discharging the functions of the Vice-Chancellor, to call a meeting of the Syndicate expeditiously. Accordingly the 4th respondent called a special meeting of the Syndicate for 15th April 1968 for the purpose of nominating two members of the Committee to be constituted under section 10 (1) of the Act. In that meeting, a decision was taken to nominate Shri Bhagwan Sahai (respondent No. 7) and Shri Dr. Bhagwatsharan Upadhyaya (respondent No. 6). The Chancellor, on his side, nominated Shri G. K. Shinde as the third member of the committee. This committee submitted a panel for Vice-Chancellor in which the name of Shri Shiv Mangal Singh (respondent No. 3) was included. The Chancallor, by notification dated 6-7-1968, Annexure I appointed Dr. Shiv Mangal Singh as the Vice-Chancellor of the Vikram University. This appointment is being challenged by the petitioner on three grounds, namely: -
(i) That the meeting of the Syndicate was not properly called; (ii) That it was not presided over by an appropriate person; and (iii) That Shri Bhagwatsharan Upadhyaya, nominee of the Syndicate, was closely connected with the University and as such, his nomination was invalid.
On the first ground, our attention was invited to Regulation No. 2 framed under section 31 of the Act. Clause 1 of the said regulation is that "The meetings of the Syndicate shall be held ordinarily once in two months or at such times as the Vice-Chancellor may direct." Clause 2 provides that "A special meeting of the Syndicate shall be convened by the Registrar on a requisition signed by any eight members of the Syndicate, to convene a special meeting. The date of this meeting will be fixed by the Vice-chancellor and such subjects as the signatories to the requisition have set forth in the requisition shall be first considered.." While clause 3 provides that "The Vice-Chancellor shall preside at the meetings of the Syndicate. In the absence of the Vice-Chancellor, the members will elect their own Chairman." On the basis of these clauses in the said regulation, it was urged that the meeting in which the two members were nominated could not be termed as a 'special meeting' as it was not called at the requisition of eight members, but was called by the Registrar on his own initiative. This meeting, therefore, could only be treated as an ordinary meeting called by the Registrar. In that case, a notice of not less than 15 clear days before the meeting is compulsory as contemplated under clause 4 of the said regulation and inasmuch as such a notice was not given, the meeting was invalid, and the nomination of the two members was bad. We find it difficult to accept the interpretation put by the petitioner on the clauses referred to above.
Clause 1 clearly authorises the Vice-Chancellor to call a meeting of the Syndicate ordinarily once in two months and any other meeting as many times as the Vice-Chancellor deems fit. The other meeting would, therefore, necessarily be 'a special meeting' of the Syndicate. Clause 2 of the Regulation merely authorises eight members of the Syndicate to submit a requisition to convene a special meeting, if they so desired. It does not follow from this that the meeting called on the requisition of eight members should only be treated as 'a special meeting'. The expression 'special meeting' is nowhere defined in the Act, Statute or Regulations. We do not, therefore, find it necessary to give it a limited meaning which the petitioner wants to put on the expression 'special meeting'. The contention of the petitioner that the meeting was not properly called for want of sufficient notice must, therefore, be rejected.
(3.) SUB-section (5) of section 10 of the Act provides that-
"Where any temporary vacancy of not more than a year's duration........occurs.... .... the Chancellor shall........make such arrangements for carrying on the office of the Vice-Chancellor as he may think fit; (and) until such arrangements have been made, the Registrar shall carry on the current duties of the office of the Vice-Chancellor."
Under this provision, the Chancellor had directed the Registrar (respondent No. 4) to carry on the current duties of the Vice-Chancellor. A question, there fore, arose as to whether the Registrar, who was to carry on the current duties of the office of the Vice-Chancellor, would be entitled to preside over the meeting of the Syndicate. The Registrar, therefore, sought advice of the Chancellor on this matter. He was advised that inasmuch as he was not a Vice-Chancellor but was only authorised to discharge the current duties, it would not be proper on his part to preside over the meeting of the Syndicate and hence, the Registrar did not preside over the meeting of the Syndicate in which the two members were nominated and the Syndicate had elected its own Chairman for that particular meeting. We think that the advice given by the Chancellor was correct. The registrar was not the Vice-Chancellor and hence he was not competent to preside over the meeting of the Syndicate as is contemplated under clause 3 of the Regulation No. 2. The attack on the meeting on the ground that the meeting was not presided over by a proper person must, therefore, fail.
This brings us to the third ground, namely, intimate connection of respondent No. 6 with the University. In this connection, it was urged on behalf of the petitioner that Shri Bhagwatsharan Upadhyaya was a member of the Research Degree Committee of the University. He was also a member of many other authorities and committees functioning under the University; Shri Bhagwatsharan Upadhayaya tendered his resignation from all these bodies, authorities and committees only a few days before the impugned meeting of the Syndicate was held. This was done only with a view to show that he was not connected with the University when his nomination was made by the Committee. It is further urged that soon after the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor, Shri Bhagwatsharan Upadhyaya was appointed as a Professor in the department of Ancient Indian History and Culture in the University which clearly indicated how closely he was connected with the University.;