The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to advance the hearing of a petition assailing the order of Jamia Millia Islamia dissolving an association of its teachers.
The petitioner had sought the hearing of the case to be advanced from September 19 to an early date.
Justice Subramonium Prasad said no reason was given by the petitioner in the application as to why this case be given special treatment over other matters.
“The application does not disclose any reason why the hearing be preponed from September 19 There is no reason given as to why this case be given special treatment over other cases. The application is dismissed,” the high court said.
The application, filed through advocate Abhik Chimni, also sought a stay on the university’s order dissolving the Jamia Teachers Association and direction to conduct elections to the body.
The high court dismissed the application and said the pleadings be completed before the next date of hearing and the matter be taken up on September 19 for arguments.
The high court had on December 7, 2022 issued notice on the petition by Amir Azam, a former president of the Jamia Teachers Association, and asked the respondent university to place in a sealed cover a copy of the report of a committee constituted to examine the association’s constitution.
It had granted time to the varsity to file its response to the petition.
Lawyer Pritish Sabharwal, appearing on behalf of the university, had said the teachers’ association has to be in conformity with the Jamia Act, and a six-member committee has been formed to look at the constitution of the association, and a report was awaited.
In the petition filed through lawyers Ch. Animes Prusty and Mukul Kulhari, the petitioner a scientist who earlier worked as a professor in the Department of Chemistry at JMI, said the Jamia Teachers’ Association (JTA) was constituted in 1967 as an autonomous body and has since operated as per its articles of the constitution towards protecting the interests of the teachers.
The petition said its office bearers are duly elected by the members of the JTA but the VC “derailed” the election process and subsequently dissolved the association in November 2022 “illegally and arbitrarily”.
“Since JTA is an autonomous body and is governed by its constitution therefore it is trite in law that the JTA can only be dissolved in the manner prescribed in its constitution. Therefore, the act of the Vice-Chancellor to dissolve the JTA and derail the election process on the recommendations of the Deans of faculties… is illegal and arbitrary,” the petition said.
The act of the university issuing an advisory to members of the association restraining them from attending the general body meeting of the JTA is in “direct contravention” of the fundamental rights of the members of the association to assemble peacefully and form associations,it added.
It also contended the university’s decision to constitute a committee to look into the shortcomings in the bylaws and the JTA constitution is “completely arbitrary” and liable to be set aside.
The plea claimed the university has no authority to interfere in the internal functioning of the JTA or