A fresh controversy has sprung up regarding the appointment of the registrar of the Tamil Nadu National Law School after the surprise selection of T Vengadesan .
He was selected by an executive council which comprises several eminent members such as vice-chancellor Kamala Sankaran, Justice T S Sivagnanam of the Madras high court , advocate general Vijay Narayan and state law secretary S S Poovalingam.
Chief Justice of the Madras high court is the chancellor for the law school.
Appointment Not In Line With Rules
T Vengadesan has worked with railways earlier and has experience in commercial, marketing and traffic costing. He has also worked as an assistant registrar at IIT-Madras for two years before joining the ministry of mines. Since 2011 he has worked with Delhi University’s finance department.
- As per Section 14(1) of TN National Law School Act, an aspirant should be an ‘academician in the field of law’, and must have not have held a position lower to that of the principal of a government law college or professor of a university for less than three years.
Vengadesan however only has an undergraduate law degree.
- Further any applicant from the government’s side, must be an officer not lower in rank than a deputy secretary in law department.
The term “government” likely refers to the state government, which may make a finance department official from Delhi University not eligible for the job.
Nonetheless, the executive council found Vengadesan to be the most suitable of three candidates during the August 2017 interview, and he assumed office in October.
No Irregularity In Appointment
An appeal, was filed with Chief Justice Indira Banerjee, who is the chancellor vested with the necessary powers to review records of officers, and annul or reverse or order reconsideration of any decision under Section 9(4) of the Act.
In response to the irregularity of the appointment, vice-chancellor Kamala Sankaran said that she was not willing to talk about it, and emphasised that the university was a “respectable” one, which is functioning properly.
According to sources, the appeal filed with the chief justice was not a statuary appeal but a letter that requested the chief justice to review the issue and pass suitable orders.
The letter was sent further on to the vice-chancellor who has found that there was no irregularity in the appointment.
The sources further pointed out that Vengadesan had more service experience than other candidates, and also the word ‘government’ referred to in the rule needed not be limited to state government alone. However no clarification was provided if a university can be considered as ‘government.’