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The Madras High Court has recently passed some directions to ensure that the shifting of the Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College to its new campuses is carried out without any further hitches.
Notably, the Bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and V Parthiban has made it clear that it expects the process to be completed by July 9, as undertaken by the Public Works Department. Further, that the new campuses be adequately equipped with required infrastructure. Directions have also been issued to ensure the transparent selection of faculty to vacant posts.`
Ensure that campus is shifted on schedule
Presently, the Ambedkar Law College also has a campus in the premises of the High Court. Back in 2008, two student groups clashed in the campus. A Committee headed by Justice (Retd.) P Shanmugam was subsequently constituted to probe the circumstances which led to the violence and propose measures to improve the quality of legal education in Tamil Nadu.
Following the recommendations of the Committee, the First Bench of the High Court had directed the Government to shift the law college to a new campus. Accordingly, the Government earmarked two areas for the new campuses, i.e. at Pattarai Perumbudur Village, Thiruvalllur and Pudupakkam Village, Kanchipuram.
However, the law college students raised vocal protest against this proposal. The present campus was favored for its proximity and easy access to the High Court. As a result, the last few years have also witnessed student protests against the impending shift. Protests and demonstrations against the same were carried out earlier this year as well.
Addressing such potential obstacles, the Court has cautioned,
“It is to be noted that the shifting of Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College, Chennai to two separate Colleges is pursuant to the orders passed by this Court. Any attempt made to obstruct or hinder the shifting of the College would be the violation of the orders passed by this Court.”
As regards the shifting process, the Court has emphasized that the Public Works Department should honour its assurance that the entire work on the new campuses would be completed before the start of the next academic year i.e. on July 9, 2018.
“It is the duty and obligation of the Public Works Department of the Districts concerned to see to it that they stick to the time schedule fixed…
…The Government is at liberty to fix a date for inauguration of the new colleges, before the commencement of the next academic year on 9th July, 2018. The entire process of shifting should be completed soon so that the College Administration will be in a position to commence the classes from 9th July 2018 onwards, as scheduled.“
In the event of any obstruction or hindrance in the implementation of these directives, the Court has directed that appropriate police protection is provided to maintain peace in the process of shifting campuses.
Ensure that faculty recruitment process is transparent
There are presently 186 sanctioned posts for Government law lecturers which required to be filled up. The petitioner had moved the Court in 2017 seeking to stay the recruitment process as he apprehended that the recruitment would not be conducted in a fair and transparent manner.
Consequently, in October that year, the Court directed the College not to publish any notifications for recruitment applications to full-time teaching posts. It was only in December 2017 that the Court allowed the Government to go ahead with the preliminary process of recruitment.
This was after the Government appointed an Expert Committee to select the Lecturers to Government Law Colleges. The Committee was chaired by Retired Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, Justice N Vasathakumar.
The four other members comprising the committee are the Secretary to the Government, Law Department, the Advocate General of Tamil Nadu, The Chairman of the Teacher’s Recruitment Board and the Director of Legal Studies.
Further, the Court has also requested the Chairman, Justice Vasanthakumar to nominate a reputed academician of his choice as an additional member of the Committee.
The Committee has been tasked with the overall supervision and conduct of the process of recruitment for the 186 faculty posts to be filled up in the Government Law Colleges of Tamil Nadu. The Court has ruled that the decision of the Committee’s Chairman will be final on any issue.
The Committee has been directed to submit a status report to the Court regarding the recruitment process in the first week of July.
Ensure infrastructural facilities in new campuses
Before parting with the order, the Bench has also emphasised that all necessary infrastructural facilities should be made available with the college campuses.
“Pucca compound walls should be constructed around the college campuses and hostel facilities for both boys and girls with proper basic amenities, should be provided for. The entry into the colleges should be restricted only to students, administrative staff, teaching staff and legitimate visitors on obtaining appropriate permission/pass and security arrangements should be provided in such a way as found in the IIT campus.
The respondents concerned shall take steps to introduce biometric system in a phased manner so that entry of unwanted third parties could be prevented. CCTV circuiting should be established and CCTV cameras should be installed at the entry point. Appropriate security arrangements should be provided to Girl Students Hostel.”
The case will be taken up next in the first week of July.
Read order below: