A petition has been filed in the Allahabad High Court challenging the process of selection for the vice chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) after the acting VC's wife figured in a list of shortlist. Justice Vikas Budhwar fixed the hearing on the plea filed by Syed Afzal Murtaza Rizvi, a professor in the computer science department in Jamia Millia Islamia, on November 16.
At a meeting of AMU's governing body held on Monday, the final three candidates were shortlisted for the VC's post, including the wife of acting vice chancellor. Acting VC Mohammad Gulrez's wife, Naima Khatoon, who is the principal of AMU's Women's College, received 50 votes of the members of the AMU Court, the governing body.
The other two shortlisted candidates, M Uruj Rabbani (former dean of Faculty of Medicine, AMU) and Faizan Mustafa (noted jurist and former VC of National Law University, Nalsar), got 61 and 53 votes, respectively.
At a meeting of the university's Executive Council chaired by Gulrez last week, the names of five candidates were finalised for sending to the AMU Court. On Monday, the governing body pruned the list to three with the names of Furqan Qamar (former VC of University of Rajasthan and first VC of Central University of Himachal Pradesh) and Qayyum Hussain (VC of Cluster University, Srinagar) being dropped.
Naima Khatoon's name being shortlisted by a panel headed by the acting VC has raised questions of conflict of interest. Eight members of the AMU governing body who attended a meeting to shortlist names have also submitted a strong dissent note questioning the process.
However, the university spokesperson said there was nothing in the act and statutes of this Institution which prevents the Vice Chancellor from chairing or voting at a meeting in which his spouse is one of the candidates for selection.
The three shortlisted named for the VC's post will be sent to President Droupadi Murmu, who is the Visitor of the university. She will pick one name for the post of the AMU VC. If appointed, Khatoon will be the first woman to become the vice chancellor of AMU.