Attorney Joseph L. Rauh Jr. yeaterday criticized a government approved desegregation plan for the University of North Carolina and warned of possible court action to upset it.

Raub, attorney for a group of students and the NSACP Legal Defense Fund in a lawsuit that led to formulation of the plan, accused Health, Education and Welfare Secretary Joseph A. Califano Jr. of hasty and political motivation in approving the plan two weeks ago.

Rauh said that after examining the text of the plan, which he did not receive until this week, he had concluded that "our worst fears are justified. It is in fact worse than the plans for Virginia, Georgia and other states. It may cause a returogression in the others."

Rauh said Califano had approved what appears to be an unsatisfactory plan in order to allay public resentment in tobacco-growing North Carolina against Califano's anti-smoking campaign.

"This was clearly a political decision," he charged. "Califano was burned by a tobacco leaf."

The North Carolina desegregation plan resulted from a successful suit rought by Rauh asking the courts to force HEW to cut off U.S. education funds to systems with vestigets of segregation. After the students represented by Rauh and the Legal Defense Fund won the suit, agreements on desegregation in higher education were worked out with five states. Califano announced agreement with the sixth, North Carolina on May 12.

The agreement with the 16-unit North Carolina system involves black enrollments at the 11 primarily white campuses, equalizing black and white teacher salaries, increasing black enrollment in graduate schools and ending duplication of facilities at white and black colleges.

Rauh said that in several respects, particularly on ending duplication, the agreement is less favorable for blacks than pacts with other states.

He said those who had brought the original suit would wait to see how further details are worked out in the months ahead, and "if as we now fear, they do not measure up to the criteria set by Judge [John H.] Pratt" when he ordered HEW to enforce desegregation, "we will seek to upset them."

Meanwhile, Rauh said, he intends to press forward with a request in federal district court here for a contempt citation against HEW for allegedly failing to show him the North Carolina desegregation plan before Califano approved it.

Rauh said HEW was required by Pratt's earlier order to submit any agreement to Rauh and his associates before putting it in effect. He said yesterday he did not receive a copy of the agreement until this week, 10 days after Califano announced approval.