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Kurien had no right to sack IRMA director, rules court

Special Correspondent

He may go in appeal against order The removal could be decided only by the board of governors and not by any single person, even if it were the chairman


AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday ruled against the authority of the chairman of the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA), Verghese Kurien's authority to remove the executive director.

Delivering the final judgment on a petition filed by the dismissed executive director, K. Prathap Reddy, Justice M.R. Shah held as null and void Dr. Kurien's action in removing him from the board and appointing L.K. Vaswani in his place.

Although Mr. Reddy's term even otherwise was due to expire on September 2, unless extended by the board of governors, the High Court's judgment, the order of which will be issued on Wednesday, will have far-reaching consequences in deciding Dr. Kurien's authority in running IRMA.

The court held that Mr. Reddy was appointed by the board of governors of IRMA and that Dr. Kurien had no authority to remove him. The removal could be decided only by the board of governors and not by any single person, even if it were the chairman. Mr. Reddy was removed on grounds of indiscipline in April, following which he approached the High Court. Justice Qureshi had issued an interim order in favour of Mr. Reddy, asking IRMA to continue the arrangement that prevailed before the sacking of Mr. Reddy, which was challenged by Dr. Kurien before a Division Bench of the High Court.

The Bench comprising Justice Singhvi and Justice Anant Dave reversed the interim order on June 28, allowing Mr. Reddy's removal till the final disposal of the case. However, in the final order issued by Justice Shah on Tuesday, not only did the court take away Dr. Kurien's authority to remove the executive director, but also criticised his "arbitrary actions".

Dr. Kurien was not immediately available for comment, but sources close to him said he was likely to go in appeal against the High Court's order.

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