Kerala seeks to remove governor as chancellor

Wednesday 16th November 2022 05:41 EST

Thiruvananthapuram: The CPI(M)-led government in Kerala sent its ordinance to remove the Governor from the post of Chancellor of universities in the state, to the Raj Bhavan for approval, days after the cabinet had taken a decision in this connection.

Raj Bhavan sources confirmed that the ordinance to replace the Governor as Chancellor of varsities and appoint eminent academicians in that role, has reached its office for the assent of Arif Mohammed Khan.

However, it is unlikely for the Governor to promulgate the ordinance soon as the tussle between him and the state government over the issue is yet to die down, sources added. The Pinarayi Vijayan headed government had decided to come out with the ordinance, a move opposed by both the Congress and BJP.

The opposition parties have alleged that the cabinet decision was aimed at turning universities in Kerala into "Communist centres".

Meanwhile, ministers P Rajeeve and V Sivankutty expressed hope that the Governor would promulgate the ordinance without any delay. When journalists pointed out the Governor's recent reported statement that he would send the ordinance to the President, Law Minister P Rajeeve said he does not think that a person upholding a constitutional post would say so without even seeing the document.

VC's appointment quashed

The Kerala high court, meanwhile, quashed the appointment of Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (Kufos) vice chancellor K Riji John, holding that UGC regulations were flouted because a single name was recommended instead of the stipulation that a list of several names be given to the chancellor to choose from.

A division bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly held the 2018 UGC rules cannot be overruled and the search-cum-selection committee had violated the regulations too. The governor had recently sought the resignation of 11 vice chancellors in the state, including the Kufos VC, for UGC rules violations and the court order came as a setback to the government that had been opposing him. BJP and Congress welcomed the order, while CPM said it would take appropriate steps after legally examining it.

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