The Gujarat Universities Service Tribunal (GUST) has held that it had jurisdiction to determine disputes relating to condition of services of members of all universities in the state be it government-run, private or deemed.
The dispute over GUST’s jurisdiction arose when one Brijkishore Sharma a lecturer with Dharmsinh Desai University (DDU), a deemed university in Kheda district, approached the High Court over termination of his services in May this year. He had alleged that the DDU had discontinued his services claiming it to be ‘administrative convenience’ but not disclosing any reason specific reason.
The High Court asked Sharma to approach the GUST and ordered the tribunal to decide on the dispute over jurisdiction first.
Tribunal Judge RA Patel, while dealing with the jurisdiction issue, observed that according to the Act through which the GUST was constituted, the purpose of the tribunal was to determine dispute relating to conditions of service of the members of the teaching, other academic and non-teaching staff of universities in the state of Gujarat. He further observed that universities, if declared ‘deemed university’ under section 3 of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Act, then it would fall within the jurisdiction of the tribunal.
“Fact remains that on addition of institution in list of deemed university, situated in the state of Gujarat, the jurisdiction of this tribunal would be automatically qua dispute connected with the condition of service of an employee of such deemed university,” the order of tribunal said.
“It is held that so far as dispute connected with conditions of service of an employee of any university is concerned, this tribunal is having the jurisdiction qua all employee of all universities established and incorporated in the state of Gujarat under the state legislation,” it further said.
“Non inclusion of universities constituted under University Act or Gujarat Private University Act would be absurd and unjustified and in violation of Article 14 of the constitution of India,” the tribunal order said.
The tribunal was of the opinion that if the private universities were not brought under its jurisdiction its employees would be deprived from speedy and cheap justice at par with their counterparts of other universities.