Petition against VCs committee sent to CJ


A petition filed by Government College University (GCU) Physics Professor Dr Hassan Amir Shah against the selection criteria and procedure of selection of vice chancellors (VC) of six public-sector universities was heard on Friday by Justice Ijazul Ahsan, who sent it to the Lahore High Court (LHC) chief justice (CJ) for a hearing, as Justice Ijaz is a member of the syndicate of one of the varsities.
Petitioner’s counsel Anwar Kamal argued that the search committee constituted for selection of VCs of six public-sector universities lacked legality. He gave an example of the University of Health Sciences (UHS) where an amendment to the UHS Act was made in 2009 to provide a legal basis for the constitution of the search committee.
Kamal also pointed that none of the members of the search committee were qualified for the post of VC. He argued that there was a glaring discrepancy between the advertised eligibility criteria and the subsequently formulated evaluation criteria, making the selection procedure illegal.
This was especially evident in the fact that in the advertised criteria, quality research work published in journals of international repute had been demanded from applicants but had not been included in the evaluation criteria. Kamal said that allocation of 40 marks for interviews also lacked a legal basis and created a cushion for unstructured discretion, which could lead to bias and injustice.
The petitioner’s counsel pointed out that the evaluation criteria was decided after the announcement of the eligibility criteria, which further made the procedure illegal and unacceptable. Kamal also argued that the criteria for the QS University World Ranking also lacked legal basis and such arbitrary discrimination made the selection procedure completely illegal.
Justice Ahsan pointed out that since he sits on the Syndicate of the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) along with Vice Chancellor (VC) Lieutenant General (r) Muhammad Akram (one of the members of the search committee) and Punjab Higher Education Additional Secretary Chaudhry Akram, he would refrain from passing a judgment and requested the Lahore High Court (LHC) chief justice (CJ) that the case be heard urgently on May 16 by another judge who was not a member of the syndicate of either the UET or any of the six advertised public-sector universities.