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LAHORE: The University of Engineering and Technology (UET) administration has called into question the ‘prerogative’ of the Punjab Higher Education Department’s Special Departmental Accounts Committee (SDAC) and varsity’s own resident auditor to “highlight alleged illegal appointments.”

It claims that the varsity’s Syndicate is the only competent authority/forum to look into the issue of (alleged unlawful) appointments of the registrar, deputy registrar and controller of examinations.

The UET administration has also asked the department to withdraw its letters seeking cancellation of the appointments against the aforementioned slots. The HED had earlier asked the UET through letters to denotify the unlawful/irregular appointments of the registrar, deputy registrar and controller of examinations as soon as possible.

Varsity asks higher education body to withdraw letters

According to a letter of March 29 (Univ/Reg/Ps/102) written by the UET, the provincial secretary for higher education has been told that the Syndicate under Section 24(i) (s) of the UET Lahore Act 1974 is the Appointing Authority of the teachers and other officers of BS-17 and above on the recommendations of Selection Board.

“The appointments by the Syndicate are made on the recommendations of the Selection Board for the post of Registrar, Deputy Registrars, Controller of Examinations and others. Only University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore Act 1974 and Statutes relating to University of Engineering and Technology Officers (other than Research Officers) Appointment Statutes, 1996 are applicable for the appointment of said posts whereas no Rule/Regulation is relevant for the review of the said appointments.

“The said letter (department’s letter of March 13) has been written without taking into consideration the UET Act and the statutes relating to the appointments of these officers. The UET Officers Appointment Statutes 1996 sate that when these Statutes are silent, the Government rules will be followed,” reads the UET’s letter. “Therefore, the Selection Board and the Syndicate determined the experience in accordance with para 18(1) Part-III (Initial Appointment) of the Notification dated 24th August, 1974 issued by S&GAD, Government of the Punjab which is reproduced as: “Provided that experience, where prescribed, would include equivalent experience, to be determined by the Government in a profession or in the service of an autonomous or semi-autonomous organization or a private organization.”

It says that under the University Statutes, the Syndicate and the Selection Board are the only competent authorities in university to determine the equivalence of private sector experience to BS-17 and that no such power vests with any other officer or authority. The appointment of Registrar and Controller of Examinations were made on Oct 7, 2013 on the recommendations of the Selection Board which were approved by the Syndicate (the appointing authority) in its meeting on Nov 11, 2013.

The letter claims that the Resident Auditor of the UET is also not competent to determine whether the appointments made were over and above the authorised strength of deputy registrars. The competent authority of the University has the power to make adjustment as and when required to fill the posts of deputy registrars taking into consideration the available posts.

“The SDAC is not the competent forum to recommend cancellation/denotification of the appointments of Registrar, Deputy Registrar and Controller of Examinations. Thus it is requested that the letter of March 13 may kindly be withdrawn for not being in accordance with the University Act and Statutes,” the UET letter demands.

Meanwhile, sources say the varsity has unnecessarily challenged the authority of the Higher Education Department. “In fact, after the 18th amendment, the HED has become powerful. Under the rules (as mentioned on page 64, 65) the department is the regulator of all public and private sector and other allied departments/autonomous bodies,” an official told Dawn.

The official said MPA Muhammad Shoaib Siddiqui moved an adjournment motion in the Punjab Assembly on May 18. Through this motion, the MPA stated that the UET didn’t follow the requisite rules, regulations and criteria laid down regarding appointments of candidates.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2017