The vice chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University does not have the power to appoint chairpersons of different centres, the Delhi High Court has said.

A division bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher and Justice Talwant Singh restrained nine chairpersons appointed by Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar from taking any major decisions, including functions relating to the convening of selection committees.

The court observed that the executive council is vested with the power to appoint chairpersons and not the vice chancellor.

“Thus, clearly the appointment of chairpersons of centres/special centres by respondent number 2 is, as is evident at this stage, prima facie, without authority,” the judges said in an order passed on October 26. It was uploaded on the court website on Tuesday.

The High Court was hearing a petition filed by Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Atul Sood, who challenged the executive council’s approval to the nine professors appointed by Kumar as chairpersons of different centres like the Centre for Political Studies, Centre for Media Studies and Centre for Historical Studies.

According to the university statute, the vice chancellor can exercise such powers only in “emergent situations”, Sood said.

During the hearing, Shakdher and Singh observed that after a single bench of the High Court on September 28 refused to stay the nine appointments made by the vice chancellor, Kumar proceeded with the appointment of another person as chairperson of Centre of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Latin American Studies under the School of Language, Literature and Cultural Studies.

“This time around as well, respondent no. 2 made the appointment, albeit, in exercise of emergency powers vested in him, under Statute 4(5) of the Statutes of the University,” the order said.

The High Court has also asked the single-judge bench, before whom the matter is pending, to hear Sood’s petition on November 10, The Leaflet reported.