Deviation rectified by amending Act
JAMMU, Apr 2: The Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory is no more Chancellor of the National Law University here as necessary amendment in the J&K National Law University Act, 2018 has been made thus bringing this legislation at par with the regulations for such institutions in other parts of the country.
Chief Justice of the J&K High Court is now Chancellor of the National Law University in Jammu and Kashmir, which was established last year under the Act passed by the Legislature of the erstwhile State of J&K, according to which Chief Minister was its Chancellor.
This is another blow for the post of Chief Minister in the newly created Union Territory of J&K, where the Lieutenant Governor has replaced the former as Chancellor of four universities, including both the Cluster Universities in Jammu and Srinagar, BGSBU Rajouri and Islamic University of Science and Technology, Awantipora.
As per the Gazette notification issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, amending the Jammu and Kashmir National Law University Act 2018, the term ‘Chief Minister’ has been substituted by “The Chief Justice” in Section 8 while the term “The Chief Justice” has been substituted by “the Chancellor”, in section 12, sub-section (I), Clause (d).
Pertinent to mention that before amendment in the J&K National Law University Act 2018, Chief Minister was Chancellor of the Law University despite the fact that in other parts of the country, Chief Justice of the concerned State holds this position.
Even as before giving his consent to the Bill in this regard, then Governor of the erstwhile J&K State, N N Vohra, had conveyed his reservations over the deviation from the pattern prevalent all over the country for the post of Chancellor of J&K National Law University, then Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP-BJP Government had justified the variation on the ground that “Chief Justice generally remains busy in handling the affairs of the judiciary and attending the court on regular basis”.
Further justifying the Chief Minister as Chancellor of the National Law University, then Government had told the Governor that one sitting Judge of the J&K High Court would be part and parcel of Executive Committee of the Law University and as such highest judiciary will have a key role to play in the functioning of the varsity. The deviation was also justified on the ground that “Chief Justice of India is the Visitor of the National Law University to guide on important aspects and hence there was no major variation from the set pattern.
With amendment in the Act, Chief Justice of J&K High Court is now Chancellor of the National Law University in the Union Territory, replacing the Chief Minister, whose role has also been reduced to zero in all the university affairs across Jammu and Kashmir.
In the Islamic University of Science and Technology, Awanitpora; BGSBU, Rajouri and both the Cluster Universities at Jammu and Srinagar, the Chief Minister has been replaced by the Lt Governor as Chancellor by affecting amendment in Acts regulating these universities. Besides, in the Kashmir and Jammu Universities Act, where the Chief Minister is Pro-Chancellor, proviso “in consultation with the Pro-Chancellor” has been omitted.
Meanwhile, according to an amendment in J&K Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University Act, Chief Executive Officer of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board and Principal Secretary to Lt Governor have been listed as Permanent invitee ex-officio in the University Executive Council.