HC dismisses plea challenging appointment of IIMC Director General

HC dismisses plea challenging appointment of IIMC Director General
Press Trust of India | Nov 13, 2020 - 5:47 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea challenging appointment of the new Director General (DG) of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), saying there were no allegations of malafide and it does not wish to interfere with the wisdom of experts.

Justice Jyoti Singh said there was no merit in the petition and the committee of experts having knowledge in the subject was best equipped to decide whether Sanjay Dwivedi fulfilled the requirements of the advertisement issued for the post. The high court’s order came on a petition which alleged that Dwivedi did not have the minimum required experience of 25 years when he was selected for the post.

It noted that his candidature was first scrutinised by the high powered Search-cum-Selection Committee which gave its recommendation on February 24 followed by an approval of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.

Court cant interfere with the wisdom of the experts

“There is no gainsaying that the committee which carried out the selection would have scrutinised the eligibility as well as the merit of respondent No.3 (Dwivedi) before making the recommendation. “The committee constituted of the experts in the field with knowledge in the subject was best equipped to decide whether respondent No.3 fulfilled the requirements of the advertisement. In the absence of any allegations of mala fides it is not for this Court to interfere with the wisdom of the experts,” the high court said in its 31-page verdict.

The judge said she would also echo the observations of a division bench of the high court made in another case that courts have a limited role to play while examining the recommendations of the expert selection committees and it is prudent and safe to leave the decision to the academician and experts in the field.

The petitioner, Ashutosh Mishra, had told the court that Dwivedi got a bachelors degree only in 1995 and his years of work experience has to be counted from then. Therefore, he will have 25 years of work experience only by December of this year, but he was selected for the post much before, the plea had said.

The petitioner's counsel had said that a bachelor's degree was necessary to work in the media field or as a journalist and any work prior to getting the degree cannot be considered.

Bachelor's degree not mandatory to work in journalism

IIMC had told the high court that a bachelor's degree was not a must to work in the field of media or films and the advertisement for the post said that work experience has to be in the fields of journalism/media/films and Dwivedi satisfies the criteria.

Dwivedi's appointment to the post was announced on July 1 and he took charge of the office on July 13. Regarding the petitioner’s contention that Dwivedi was appointed as a Reader without fulfilling the requisite qualifications, the court noted that Mishra has already filed a petition before the Jabalpur High Court challenging the appointment as Reader in a University at Bhopal.

“In view of this it is not open to the petitioner to assail the said appointment in the present petition. For all the aforesaid reasons, I find no merit in the present petition and the same is accordingly dismissed,” Justice Singh said.

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