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HC dismisses KU VC’s continuation petition

The High Court on Friday dismissed a petition by incumbent Vice Chancellor (VC), of University of Kashmir, Khurshid Iqbal Andrabi, seeking continuation of his term in view of a 2015 legislation that amended the State Universities Act.

The petitioner VC is continuing in office by virtue of an interim court relief granted in October last which put on hold the process of appointment of the new VC for the varsity.

Andrabi was appointed as the VC on October 17, 2014, for a period of three years.

The government amended the Kashmir and Jammu Universities Act, 1969, in 2015, substituting the words “three” by “five” for the tenure of the Vice Chancellor.

Andrabi claimed that the amendments were applicable from the date they were published in the gazette notification. The gazette notification, after concurrence from the Governor (Chancellor of the University), was issued in 2015 itself, he pleaded adding that he was ‘entitled to continue as VC for five years.

He challenged the September 08, 2017 notification by the Chancellor of the University, which directed the constitution of a search committee for appointment of the new VC for the university.

Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur, who heard Andrabi, and the official lawyers, who contested his contention, said “the important legal link is conspicuously missing in the instant case and therefore, the amendment Act of 2015 can only be said to be prospective in operation without any retroactive effect notwithstanding the fact that the petitioner was already in service on the date when the amendment came into force.”

“The argument that the amendment act of 2015 be given retroactive effect in the present case, is therefore, without any legal basis and is accordingly rejected,” he ordered and as a sequel the petition along with connected MP was found to be without any merit and is accordingly dismissed.

Andrabi, in his petition, pleaded that he is entitled, in law, to continue as the VC of the University of Kashmir for five years with effect from the date he took over charge in view of the amendments carried out vide “Kashmir and Jammu Universities (Amendment) Act, 2015 in Section 12 of Act No: XXIV of 1969, substituting the words ‘three years’ by ‘five years’.

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