Sindh Universities Laws (Amendment) Bill 2013 challenged in SHC

KARACHI: Vice Chancellor, University of Sindh, has approached the Sindh High Court (SHC) challenging the Sindh Universities Laws (Amendment) Bill 2013 that abolished discretionary powers of the governor to appoint vice chancellors of public sector universities of the province.

The SHC Justice Irfan Sadaat Khan on Friday ordered transferring petition to SHC circuit bench Hyderabad for hearing.

The petitioner Vice Chancellor Dr Nazeer Mughal filed a petition in SHC, impleading governor Sindh through his principle secretary, chief secretary Sindh and secretary of universities and boards.

Dr Mughal submitted in the petition that Sindh Universities Laws (Amendment) Act 2013 was legislated on Aug 28, 2013 and after passage this bill, powers of the governor to appoint vice-chancellors of public sector universities of the province were abolished, while chief secretary was empowered to have control over universities and appoint VC on choice.

The petitioner said that the impugned statute was unconstitutional, as it had not received the required assent of the governor. He said that the respondents were bent upon terminating his services as VC University of Sindh. He said that chief secretary has constituted a search committee through a notification on October 23, 2013 for the appointing VCs of five universities.

The petitioner said that search committee comprised two politicians and a retired civil servant. He said that no one of them was PhD qualified or eligible to be member of the search committee. He said that secretary of university and boards had got published a notification in newspaper in November inviting the application for position of VCs of the five universities.

He claimed that in order to appoint person of own choice as VC, provincial government has settled a criteria for the post of VC that omitted PhD requirement and also reduced the qualification of candidate for VC.

The petitioner said that his current tenure will end on January 8, 2014, and had also obtained an order of extension in service from the Governor of Sindh in early August 2013 for two more years, which would end on January 8, 2016.

Hence he prayed to the court to declare the Act unconstitutional and restrain the respondents from removing him from the service.

It is pertinent to mention here that earlier the SHC division bench had through an interim order had restrained the provincial authorities from removing Prof Dr Masood Hameed Khan as vice chancellor of the Dow University of Health Sciences.

Dr Masood moved court assailing the new law passed by the Sindh Assembly restricting the tenure of the vice chancellors of the universities in the province.

The petition is pending disposal.

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