The Union government has told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that the director of the Indian Institute of Management, or IIM, Rohtak did not meet the minimum educational requirements for the position, The Indian Express reported on Thursday.
The statement comes more than a month after Sharma completed his first term as the head of IIM Rohtak.
The Ministry of Education was responding to a petitioner who had alleged that IIM-Rohtak Director, Dheeraj Sharma, had misrepresented his educational qualifications when he applied for the post.
“It may be seen that Dr Dheeraj Sharma has secured Second Division in the Bachelor’s degree, as against the requirement of First Class Degree as per the Advertisement, and as such does not fulfil the eligibility criteria as laid down in the advertisement for the post of Director, IIM Rohtak,” the government said, according to The Indian Express.
In February 2021, the ministry had reportedly told the court that Sharma was appointed after following due procedure and that the appointment was “liable to be upheld”.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by the prime minister, had cleared Sharma’s name for the IIM-Rohtak director’s post on February 10, 2017, as noted by The Indian Express.
However, on September 15, 2021, the newspaper had reported that the Ministry of Education had written to Sharma in 2020, seeking verified copies of his educational certificates. Sharma had not responded to the requests.
On February 28, Sharma was appointed for another term, this time by the institute’s Board of Governors in tandem with the Indian Institutes of Management Act that came into force in 2018.
An unidentified member of the board told the newspaper that Sharma’s first term had been cleared by the Union government, and the board had nothing to do with it. “...The Ministry has been defending his appointment all along [in court] and is only contradicting itself now,” the member said, according to The Indian Express. “This information [the alleged invalidity of the first appointment] was sprung on the Board last minute.”