Kannur University Row: Kerala HC allows plea against appointment of Priya Varghese

Kerala HC said CM secretary's wife, Priya Varghese lacks relevant teaching experience as per UGC Regulations, 2018 to be appointed as associate professor.

Kannur University Row: Kerala HC allows plea against appointment of Priya Varghese Kerala High Court. (Picture: Shutterstock)
Press Trust of India | Nov 17, 2022 - 4:57 p.m. IST
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KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Thursday allowed a petition against the proposed appointment of the wife of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's private secretary as a Malayalam associate professor in Kannur University.

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Justice Devan Ramachandran said the candidate in question - Priya Varghese -- did not have the relevant period of actual teaching experience as stipulated under the University Grants Commission (UGC) Regulations of 2018. "Teaching experience can only be a real fact and not a fiction or an inference. It has to be actual and cannot be construed or inferred," the court said and observed that some of the various spells of teaching experience claimed by Varghese "cannot find favour in law".

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It directed the competent authority to reconsider the credentials of Varghese and decide if she should be in the ranked list. "On such enquiry being completed and the rank list being suitably modified, further action to make appointments can be taken," the court said.

Varghese is the wife of K K Ragesh, who is the Chief Minister's private secretary. The order came on a plea filed by one Joseph Skaria who came second to Varghese in the university mark list. Varghese had been proposed to be appointed as an associate professor in the Malayalam Department by the varsity, which triggered a huge political row as she had the lowest research score but the highest in the interview round and was declared first in the selection process.

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, in his capacity as Chancellor of universities in the state, had stayed her appointment and alleged that Kannur University's move to appoint her was "political".

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