Appointment of Vice-Chancellor to music varsity shrouded in mystery: Karnataka HC

The records on the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor of Karnataka State Dr. Gangubai Hangal Music and Performing Arts University, Mysuru, indicate that the “whole thing is shrouded in mystery”, the High Court of Karnataka observed orally on Tuesday.

The court made the observation after finding a series of discrepancies in the records maintained by the State government and the Governor, who is the Chancellor of the State universities.

The court, from the notings made in the files by the then Governor Vajubbhai Vala, pointed out that he had, on January 20, 2021, selected Nagesh V. Bettakote as Vice-Chancellor and had signed the order of appointment on January 22 following the draft notifications put up by his office the day before.

From the notings made by the then Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurapa in the file maintained by the Chief Minister’s Office, the court noted that the Chief Minister had recommended a person for the post only on January 22, 2021.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice N.S. Sanjay Gowda made these observations during the hearing of a PIL petition filed by Sri Prasanna Vidya Ganapati Mahotsava Charitable Trust, Mysuru. The petitioner had alleged that the Chancellor had appointed a person, whose name was not recommended by the search committee. “These discrepancies and inconsistencies in the records, which may prima facie affect the legality of the decision-making process [of appointing a Vice-Chancellor],” the Bench observed in its order after perusing the original records.

Pointing out that one of the pages in the file maintained by the State government did not exist in the file maintained in the office of the Governor, the Bench orally said there were a few other “clinching” aspects in the records that it would point out at a later stage.

The records prima facie indicate that the Chief Minister’s recommendation did not exist on the day the Governor selected the person for the appointment, the Bench orally said, while pointing out that remark of the Chief Minister’s secretary, found in the government’s file, was missing in the files of the Governor.

The Bench adjourned further hearing till August 30 while allowing the counsel for the petitioner and Mr. Nagesh to inspect the original files.

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