Powers Of The University Chancellor
The Lahore High Court has ruled that the powers enjoyed by the chancellor/governor are general powers of appointment to any post in a university and cannot override the specific powers of the appointment of a vice chancellor as a stop-gap arrangement as given under the law.
A detailed verdict issued against the appointment of Prof Dr Asad Aslam Khan as vice chancellor of the King Edward Medical University (KEMU), ruled that the pro-vice chancellor is to perform functions of the vice chancellor if the office of the latter falls vacant.
The ruling stated that Section 13 (9) of KEMU (Amendment) Act 2012 clearly showed that if the office of the vice-chancellor is vacant owing to any cause then the pro-vice chancellor would automatically take over the functions of the vice-chancellor.
However, it also said that the chancellor is vested with the power to make temporary arrangements for the performance of duties of the vice chancellor only when the office of the pro-vice-chancellor is also vacant. Such a temporary arrangement can only be recourse to when the office of the pro-vice-chancellor is vacant and not otherwise.
The word “temporary” is used for arrangements made by the chancellor and not for the functions of the vice-chancellor to be performed by the pro-vice-chancellor.
The verdict noted that in the present case, the pro-vice-chancellor was available; therefore, the chancellor could not invoke the powers granted under section 13 (9) and appoint the respondent as acting- vice chancellor to run affairs of the varsity.
Defending the impugned appointment, the counsel for the respondent (i.e., acting vice-chancellor) claimed that the order passed by the chancellor/governor was well within the powers of the chancellor. Pointing out that section 9 (7) (b) of the said 2012 Act empowers the chancellor to make appointments to any post of the university.
Unless the chancellor is prohibited from passing the impugned order, he is well within his powers to pass the impugned order. It was contended that the chancellor is empowered to make such temporary arrangements for the performance of the duties of the vice chancellor. The counsel questioned the petition asserting that it was tainted with mala fide intention.
The court has already suspended the appointment of Prof Dr Asad Aslam Khan as acting vice chancellor of KEMU through a short order.