Kerala govt slams governor decision on VCs of universities

Opposition alleges that the governor is using his position to appoint RSS members instead of the vie-chancellors to create political storm.

Kerala govt slams governor decision on VCs of universities Governor Arif Mohammed Khan. (Picture: TheWire)
Press Trust of India | Oct 24, 2022 - 10:53 a.m. IST
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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan's decision to call for the resignation of vice-chancellors (VCs) of nine universities in the state stirred up a political storm on Sunday with the ruling CPI(M) terming the move as an 'attempt to appoint RSS members' at the helm of varsities, while the Congress-led UDF opposition welcomed it.

While CPI(M) state secretary M V Govindan said the Governor's latest decision as Chancellor of universities in the state was "unheard of" and was one among many other similar decisions, Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan welcomed it as "belated". Speaking to reporters here, Govindan said there was no doubt that the call for resignation of the nine VCs was part of a plan to use the Governor for appointing those close to or in the RSS at the helm of the varsities through the back door. "It is a political agenda and will be countered by the state of Kerala," he said.

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He said that there is power and authority (in the Governor) to take certain decisions, but it has to be done as per the Constitution and added that things have reached "a level of madness". Satheesan, on the other hand, said that the Governor finally accepted now what the opposition has been saying for long that University Grants Commission's norms were being violated while appointing VCs in the state's universities. He, in a Facebook post, alleged that such illegal appointments were taking place when the Governor and the state government were working together. "We welcome the fact that the Governor is now ready to correct the mistake he made, even if its belated," he said.

Kerala Higher Education Minister R Bindu said that the "unilateral" decision of the Governor was a "deliberate and conscious effort" to create problems in the field of higher education in the southern state. She told media that the decision was not correct and an example of the country falling prey to fascist forces and therefore, the state government will have to consider it seriously. Bindu said that action might be taken against her now for her comments, but she cannot avoid pointing out that no such situation has ever arisen in the state in the past with any other Governor.

"It is a sad state of affairs. Attempts are being made to chain or control the government," she claimed. State law minister P Rajeeve told reporters that it was an "extraordinary" decision and the universities being autonomous bodies, can decide what course of action has to be taken. Referring to a recent Supreme Court order quashing appointment of the vice chancellor (VC) of APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University here for being contrary to UGC regulations, Khan sought resignations of VCs of nine varsities in the state by Monday morning 11.30 AM.

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