Amid growing tensions between the Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF government and Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, the state cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to pass an ordinance to remove Khan as the chancellor of the universities and replace him with an expert, reports news agency ANI.
This move comes days after Khan had directed the Vice-Chancellors of nine state universities including Kerala University, M G University, Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat), Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies, Kannur University, APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, University of Calicut and Thunchath Ezhuthachan University to resign from their posts, citing an earlier Supreme Court order.
The Governor’s order had infuriated CM Vijayan, who claimed that the Governor doesn’t have the power, and termed the move “unconstitutional.”
The top court had ruled against the appointment of MS Rajashree as the Vice Chancellor of the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, citing violation of the University Grants Commission law, which says that the chancellor can appoint a V-C from a list of names provided by the Search Committee. The appointment was contrary to the existing UGC norms as a single name was recommended by the panel.
Armed with the SC verdict, Khan called for the resignation of the V-Cs as they were the only ones named by the committee, which also had the Chief Secretary of the state in it. According to Khan, both the conditions were in violation of the UGC norms.
Refusing to resign from their posts, the V-Cs had subsequently moved the Kerala High Court against Khan’s notice stating that the Governor had not provided enough to time to file their replies and claimed that the order was illegal.
The Kerala HC on Tuesday stayed the ongoing proceedings against the V-Cs and asked the Governor to defer his final decision till the time the court passes a final order on the petitions filed by the V-Cs. In the show-cause notice, the Governor had asked to V-Cs to answer as to why their appointments shouldn’t be cancelled following the Supreme Court order.