High Court dismisses PDKV former V-C Dr Dani’s plea

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Aug 2017 09:36:44


Legal Correspondent,

Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has dismissed the petition filed by Dr Raviprakash Dani challenging his removal from the post of Vice-Chancellor (V-C) of Dr Punjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV) by the Chancellor vide order dated July 29. A division bench consisting of Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Arun Upadhye, while rejecting the challenge, indicated that reasons will be pronounced later.

The main objection of the petitioner to his removal was that he was removed without notice and giving him hearing. On the other hand , it was very strongly argued before the Court, that the University decided to remove him from the post after due consultations with State Law & Judiciary Department, the State Advocate General and the Union Ministry of External Affairs. They were unanimously advised to go ahead with the decision to remove him, as his appointment was ab initio void, he being a US citizen and not the citizen of India.

It may be recalled that Dr Dani had challenged the order of Chancellor dated July 29 before Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court. Dr Dani while terming his unceremonious removal as unfair and arbitrary, had questioned the decision of Chancellor to remove him. The petitioner has joined the Chancellor, Principal Secretary of Agriculture and Registrar of PDKV as party-respondent.

According to petitioner-Dr Dani, he was duly selected by a search committee headed by ex-judge of the Supreme Court and he had truthfully stated all the facts before the
committee. All details about his nationality and educational qualifications were duly scrutinised by the committee, Government and its agencies, he stated while wondering as to why he was penalised for something which he never suppressed.

The State Government and Chancellor strongly justified the action while charging Dr Dani, a citizen of United States, with keeping search committee in dark and also not obtaining proper permission from the Central Government required under Indian Citizenship Act while taking up any job here.

The search committee published advertisement on April 28, 2012 to which Dr Dani applied. In his application, Dr Dani fairly conceded that he was US citizen but did not disclose whether under Indian Citizenship Act he was eligible to occupy such a high post. The search committee recommended his name and Chancellor accepted it. Dr Dani was appointed as V-C of PDKV on August 13, 2012. After lot of complaints were received about US citizenship of Dr Dani, the Chancellor sought opinion from Centre, State Law and Judiciary department and then referred the matter to Advocate General who extensively examined the entire issue and found that Dr Dani was ineligible to be appointed as Vice-Chancellor since he continued to be US citizens and did not comply with provisions of Indian Citizenship Act. The Chancellor has powers to appoint so also powers to remove, the State claimed while seeking dismissal of the petition.

Advocate Anil Kilor appeared for the petitioner Dr.Dani. Senior Counsel S P Dharmadhikari with Additional GP Ketki Joshi (State and Chancellor), Adv.Arun Patil(PDKV) represented the respondents.