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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

CA issues Interim Order restraing Varsity Heads

Daily Mirror, 31/05/2011, By S.S. Selvanayagam

The Court of Appeal yesterday (30) issued an Interim Order restraining the Heads of Department of three universities from ceasing to function until the final determination on the Writ Applications filed by students.The Bench comprising Justices Sathya Hettige (President) and Upali Abeyrathne issued another Interim Order restraining Vice Chancellors and Council Members of the respective universities from accepting their letters of resignation and fixed the matter to be taken up on June 30.

Several Undergraduates filed Writ Applications restraining the Heads of Departments of Universities from resigning from their posts. They were seeking Court to issue a Writ of prohibition restraining the Vice Chancellors of the Wayamba, Ruhuna and Sri Jayawardenapura Universities, members of the Senate of respective Universities, the University Grants Commission, Deans of Faculties and Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake from accepting the letters of resignation of the Heads of Department of the respective Universities.

In this case Undergraduates Asanka Bulegoda of the Wayamba University, Rasika Deshapriya Rathnayake of the Sri Jayawardenepura University and A.H. Amarasinghe of the Ruhunu University filed separate petitions against the resignation of Heads of Departments. Faisz Musthapha with J.C. Weliamuna, Sanjeewa Jayawardane, Faizer Musthapha and Faiza Musthapha instructed by Gowry Shangary Thavarasa appeared for the Petitioners.

Petitioners are asking the Court to issue a Writ of Prohibition until the conclusion of lectures and examinations of the current academic year. 16 Heads of Departments of the Wayamba University, 26 Heads of Department of the Sri Jayawardenepura University and 41 Heads of Department of the Ruhuna University had tendered their resignations from the posts of Head of Department in the respective universities. They had sited as the reason for their resignations, the issue of impugned inadequate salary increases.

The Petitioners state that the salaries of all academic staff, including the Heads of Departments, were increased by 36.25% (as salaries and allowances) under the Government National Budget Proposals.

They alleged that the acceptance of the letters of resignation of the Heads of Department would be illegal, null and void and of no force or avail in law. They state that the Examination Board would not be able to convene without the Heads of Department and that the Senate cannot convene meetings without them. They lament that the academic and other related functions and functioning of the Universities and the degree programmes were affected due to these purported resignations and non-academic staff are also unable to carry out their routine functions, particularly the administrative functions. They had abruptly kept away from work and have thus not been performing their duties as Heads of Departments.