The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday declared Dr Razia Sultana’s appointment as vice chancellor of the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University Peshawar illegal.
In a short order, a bench consisting of Justice Abdul Lateef Khan and Justice Lal Jan Khattak announced accepting a petition of senior academician Professor Ghazala Yasmeen, who had claimed she was on top of the merit list prepared by a committee formed to search the vice chancellor but even then, Dr Razia was appointed to the post.
The detailed verdict will be announced later.
Dr Razia was appointed the university’s vice chancellor in April this year by the provincial governor on the chief minister’s advice.
Qazi Jawad Ahsanullah Qureshi, lawyer for the petitioner, said the vice chancellors of government universities were appointed in line with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities Act 2012.
He said under the law, the provincial governor was the chancellor of government universities and that he had to appoint the vice chancellors of government universities on the advice of the provincial government.
The lawyer said under the law, the chancellor formed a search committee, which had to forward a list of three candidates to the chancellor for the appointment of the vice chancellor.
He said the search committee consisted of the provincial education minister, prominent academicians and others.
The lawyer said in the current case, the search committee had placed his client on top of the list with 52 marks, whereas Dr Razia was placed in ‘serial No 2’ with 32 marks, but even then, the government appointed Dr Razia the vice chancellor in an act of discrimination against his client.
He said Dr Razia belonged to Nowshera, the hometown of provincial Chief Minister Pervez Khattak.
The lawyer said the chancellor and the provincial government could not exercise their powers of appointing vice chancellor in unfair and unjust manner.
He said even if the government had to appoint the candidate ‘in serial No 2’, it had to give cogent reason for ignoring the candidate on top of the merit list.
The lawyer for Dr Razia said powers of the chancellor over the appointment of the vice chancellor could not be questioned.
He said under the law, the chancellor had the powers to appoint any of the three candidates recommended by the search committee.
The respondents in the petition were the search committee and its members, the chancellor of the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University Peshawar, the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and others.
Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2014