UGC has asked the Odisha government and OPSC to refrain from recruiting faculty or non-teaching staff in universities for three months as the Supreme Court has issued a stay order on the Odisha Universities (Amendment) Act 2020 for that period.
The Act was passed in the assembly but the opposition alleged that the law will curtail the financial and administrative autonomy of the universities and that the institutions will come under the direct control of the state government. UGC filed special leave petitions (SLPs) before the Supreme Court challenging the Act, and the apex court put an interim halt on its implementation.
In separate letters to the Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC) and the state Higher Education Department on May 25, University Grants Commission (UGC) Secretary Professor Rajnish Jain opposed the process for recruitment of assistant professors for sociology and commerce streams that violates the stay order.
“The UGC has assailed the judgment dated January 24, 2022 passed by the Orissa High Court in Writ Petition (C), which had upheld the validity of the Act by SLPs before Supreme Court, which stayed the operation of the impugned judgment for a period of three months,” the letter stated.
The UGC pointed out that despite the stay order granted by the apex court, the OPSC proceeded with the recruitment process for the post of assistant professor in sociology and commerce streams.
“Since the recruitment of teachers/faculty by the OPSC and that of non-teaching staff by the State Selection Board is directly in issue in the SLPs pending before the Supreme Court, the continuation of the recruitment process will be in the teeth of the stay order dated 20.05.2022 granted by the apex court,” it stated.
“The UGC also reserves all its rights to take appropriate legal remedy in this regard,” it added.
OPSC Secretary Ashok Das, however, said the commission was yet to receive the letter from the UGC.
The commission is continuing the ongoing recruitment process, he said.
“OPSC will take a decision in this regard after receiving the letter,” he added.
A delegation of retired vice-chancellors and professors is scheduled to meet Governor Ganeshi Lal over the issue during the day.