New Delhi: The Union government has admitted to the Punjab and Haryana high court that the director of an Indian Institute of Management was appointed and allowed to continue for a second term in spite of not meeting the minimum educational qualification criteria.
Indian Express, which had first reported in this irregularity of appointing the IIM Rohtak director Dheeraj Sharma, has now reported on a Union education ministry affidavit acknowledging that Sharma got his bachelors degree in the second division, when a first-class degree was the prerequisite for this job.
Sharma’s appointment and the fact that he continues to hold the post has been challenged in the Punjab and Haryana high court.
In September 2021, Express had reported that three letters had been send to Sharma for his undergraduate degree, but that he still did not provide the government with it. However, this did not stop Sharma from having been reappointed for a second term under the IIM Act.
The 2018 law offers the 20 IIMs sweeping powers to appoint directors, chairpersons and members of the board. Sharma was re-appointed under it on February 28 this year.
Sharma was first appointed in 2017 by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by the prime minister. The education ministry in its affidavit has now admitted that this appointment would be considered invalid.
Notably, Express has reported that the government’s admission comes after repeated assertions that Sharma was an eligible hire.
“A year ago, it had even urged the High Court to dismiss the plea saying the petitioners have no locus standi since none of the 60 applicants for the Director’s job had challenged the appointment,” Express has reported, adding that the government’s stand endured even as it was attempting to get a hold of Sharma’s undergraduate degree.