New Delhi: The appointment of Dheeraj Sharma as the director of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Rohtak, followed due procedure and is “liable to be upheld”, the Ministry of Education has told the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Responding to a petition filed in January 2019 challenging the director’s appointment, which had alleged there were discrepancies in the educational qualifications and work experience that Sharma had mentioned in his records, the ministry submitted details of Sharma’s qualifications and the selection process.
The ministry’s response, accessed by ThePrint, included minutes of the meeting that led to Sharma’s selection and details of his academic qualifications along with his bio-data.
The central government also noted that the petitioners have no locus standi to file a plea challenging the appointment, and added that there were a total of 60 applicants who applied for the post of director at IIM-Rohtak, none of whom had challenged the appointment. On these grounds, the government has asked the petition to be dismissed.
“The petition does not disclose any cause of action arising to the petitioners for filing the writ petition by invoking the extra-ordinary jurisdiction of this Hon’ble Court. Therefore, the writ petition filed by the petitioners is not maintainable and thus liable to be dismissed on these grounds itself,” the reply, filed by Satya Pal Jain, additional solicitor general of India, added.
The court is yet to pronounce a verdict in this matter.
Govt submits Sharma’s degrees before court
The petition against Sharma, filed by an RTI activist and a Delhi-based lawyer, claimed that he lacked the requisite experience for the post and that he does not have genuine academic degrees.
The petition had alleged that Sharma had only nine years of experience at the time of his appointment instead of the requisite 15, and the government overlooked these details while appointing him as director. In response, the education ministry submitted the director’s bio data, which shows that he had 15 years of work experience in 2014.
The petitioners had also alleged that Sharma concealed information about his original degrees including bachelor’s, master’s and MBA from both IIM-Ahmedabad, where he was previously employed, and IIM-Rohtak, and refused to furnish them to the Ministry of Education.
“Sharma completed BCom in the year 1998 from Delhi University. But as per the MBA certificate, in 1998, he was studying in the 2nd year of his full-time MBA course in Dr B R Ambedkar University, Agra, and joined the MBA Programme in 1997, even before completing his BCom degree from Delhi University,” the petition had alleged.
The government responded by submitting copies of Sharma’s original degrees from Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar University, where he was enrolled from 1997 to 1999 for an MBA, and from Louisiana Tech University, US.
His bachelor’s degree, however, has not been submitted to the court. “The record of bachelor’s degree is not available in the office/Department of Higher Education,” the government said.
(Edited by Rachel John)