Quorum question hangs over BU Council meetings

Approval for the revised numbers not obtained for the last six years

 The ‘delay’ on the part of the Bangalore University in getting approval for the revised quorum for Academic Council meetings has put the varsity officials in a bind.

The High Court of Karnataka, in its recent order, has questioned the validity of  a meeting of the Academic Council on the ground of ‘insufficient quorum.’ It was resolved in the meeting to withhold admissions to the university-affiliated MEd colleges with poor infrastructure.

The Karnataka International Education Trust and Pali Education Society approached the High Court challenging the validity of the resolution. They had also questioned the authority of the vice-chancellor to set up a task force to inspect the colleges, on the ground that its chairperson was not an academician (and hence not authorised to decide the fate of the colleges).

Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh, in the order passed on October 9, quashed the resolution of the Academic Council. The Court observed that the resolutions fell short of the quorum of 35 members (including the chairperson) as prescribed in Statute 4, Chapter 4 of the Bangalore University Statutes.

After the Karnataka State Universities Act, 2000, came into force, the number of members in the Council was reduced to 42 from the earlier 148. Accordingly, in 2006, the Academic Council decided that the quorum for their meetings will be 21.

Though the Council and the Syndicate have the power to decide the quorum, it has to be officially approved by the State government. The approval is yet to be secured.
The Council meeting had also decided that the University will fill up only the MEd seats available under its quota for the year 2012-13. The colleges were given six months’ time to improve the quality of education.

The Court, however, uphold the authority of the VC to constitute the task force, and ruled that since the chairperson of the task force was a member of the Academic Council, there was nothing wrong in him heading the task force.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, an advocate requesting anonymity said, though the order pertains to a particular case, technically, all the Academic Council meetings held after the change in quorum without government’s approval, are ‘illegal.’

“Based on the ruling, if some one questions the validity of all the meetings held by the Council after 2006, it risks the meetings being declared invalid,” he said. The advocate added that the only way for the varsity was to secure the approval of the governor for the change in quorum with retrospective effect from 2006. The MEd Colleges in question got their initial approval for recognition in a Council meeting held after the change in quorum.

University Registrar, Mylarappa, said the revised quorum was submitted to the government for approval way back in 2006 and there had been no response since then.

However, Higher Education Secretary Siddaiah said no such request had been received till date. The University will place the issue before the Syndicate meeting scheduled for October 27 and the fate of the task force and its decisions will be decided by the members, Mylarappa said.

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