Patna HC clears the deck for appointment of assistant professors - Hindustan Times

Patna HC clears the deck for appointment of assistant professors

Apr 20, 2024 09:35 AM IST

The high court order is significant as the appointment process that started in 2020 has remained stalled for nearly four years

The Patna high court has cleared the decks for the recruitment of assistant professors in seriously understaffed state universities, but with clear directions for preparation of a university-wise reservation roster.

The Patna high court. (File Photo)
The Patna high court. (File Photo)

“There is no question of combining the vacancies in all universities for the preparation of the reservation roster and the direction to do so by the learned single-judge bench stands set aside. It has to be done separately, going by the university-wise, subject-wise roster preparation,” said the two-judge bench of chief justice K Vinod Chandran and justice Harish Kumar. The order was passed on Thursday evening.

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The bench observed that “while the direction to re-work the reservation by the single judge bench is upheld, finding the determination of backlog vacancies as per the impugned advertisement to be flawed, we direct that it be done subject-wise, university-wise”.

The order is significant as the appointment process that started in 2020 has remained stalled for nearly four years, as it was challenged through several petitions on the excess of the limit prescribed for reservation and the backlog of vacancies not been determined.

The single-judge bench of justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma had in December 2022 stayed the appointment of assistant professors, carried out by the Bihar State University Service Commission (BSUSC) since 15 July 2021, due to ambiguity on the reservation roster and the issue of adjusting backlog vacancies.

BSUSC had advertised 4,638 vacancies for assistant professors in 52 subjects on 23 September 2020, just ahead of the announcement of the state assembly elections. Till the HC stayed the appointment prices, 461 candidates had been appointed.

The single-judge bench had specifically observed, while directing the re-working of backlog vacancies and also the reservations after clubbing the entire vacancies advertised, that the persons already appointed would not be disturbed and they would be set off against either the backlog vacancies as per the reservation vacancies worked out and then, in the reservation vacancies of the instant selection.

The two-judge bench observed in its order that the “single judge has merely protected their right to be adjusted in the reservation vacancies, either backlog or the extant ones, which is only a statement of the obvious. If they do not qualify necessarily, as per the new roster, either on merit or in the reservation category, they would be sent out”.

The Bihar legislative assembly passed the Bihar state university service commission Act in 2017 to vest the power of recruitment back in the commission, which was earlier dissolved in 2007. Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Bihar government had constituted the commission in February 2019.

BSUSC chairman Girish Choudhary welcome the court order and said that the appointment process would once again begin. “The government had gone into appeal and its contention that all universities cannot be clubbed has been upheld. We have already reworked the roster and submitted. Under the New Education Policy (NEP), teachers’ shortage is a big handicap in Bihar and with new appointments, the pressure will ease a bit,” he said.

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    Arun Kumar is Senior Assistant Editor with Hindustan Times. He has spent two-and-half decades covering Bihar, including politics, educational and social issues.

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