An application for impleadment is set to be filed with the Supreme Court to make all the six Indian Institutes of Management a party to the public interest litigation filed by three petitioners.
The big question is now whether all the six IIMs will join in the petition as there are already indications of a split in the ranks.
The IIM-Lucknow informed the ministry about its willingness to slash fees as per the ministry's order, provided it meets the shortfall of funds.
"If just a single IIM had shown interest in joining the petition as a party, the court could have denied permission. But in its Friday order, the SC bench, comprising chief justices V N Khare, S B Sinha and S H Kapadia has clearly said all IIMs can join the petition. So we are going to file an application for impleadment shortly seeking its permission to make all IIMs party to the ongoing PIL," said Sandeep Parekh, visiting faculty at IIM-Ahmedabad and a New Delhi-based advocate who was instrumental in filing the petition.
Saikat Sengupta, a graduate of IIM-A and Anish Mathew, an alumnus of the institute, are the two other petitioners of the PIL.
The petition has been slated to be next heard on April 8 and according to the law, the application for impleadement has to be filed before the next date of the hearing of the petition.
Though Parekh did not specify when the application with the SC will be made, sources said it may be filed as early as next week.
The focus will now be on the three board of governors meetings of IIM-Bangalore, IIM-Ahmedabad and IIM-Calcutta, at which the final decision of being a party to the petition will be taken.
The board meeting of IIM-C is slated to be held on March 26, for IIM-B it will be a day later on March 27 and the IIM-A board will meet on April 3.
The board meeting of IIM-Lucknow was held on February 29 while the meeting of IIM-Indore is scheduled for March 22. The board meeting of IIM-Kozhikode was held on February 15.
Though IIM-Lucknow board meeting reportedly concluded with a decision to implement the fee cut provided the ministry of human resources development meets its funds shortfall, the board of IIM-Kozhikode concluded without passing a resolution on the issue.
"The IIMs will definitely require a green signal from their chairmen and as the board meet of IIM-Calcutta will be held first, the decision of its board will be very vital," said a senior Gujarat High Court advocate.
The directors of all three IIMs were not available for their comments while sources said that these three institutes are now consulting their legal advisors about the pros and cons being impleaded.