SC seeks response of Kerala on plea against HC verdict setting aside KUFOS VC's appointment

Kerala High Court's judgment was based on the ground that the vice-chancellor was selected and appointed not as per the regulations of the UGC.

SC seeks response of Kerala on plea against HC verdict setting aside KUFOS VC's appointment Supreme Court
Press Trust of India | Nov 21, 2022 - 9:04 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday sought responses from the Kerala government and others on a plea of K Riji John challenging the high court verdict setting aside his appointment as the vice-chancellor of a fisheries and ocean studies university in the state.

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A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, however, refused to stay the Kerala High Court judgement quashing John's appointment as the VC of the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS). Besides the state government, the top court also issued notices to K K Vijayan, the chancellor of KUFOS and the search-cum-selection committee which was authorised to select candidates for the appointment.

Senior advocates KK Venugopal and Jaideep Gupta sought a stay or a status quo order. Declining the request, the bench said, "If you succeed, you will be reinstated". When Gupta said that the administration of the university will come to a standstill, the bench said, "The chancellor is bound to make some arrangements for two weeks."

The high court's judgment was based on the ground that the vice-chancellor was selected and appointed as per the provisions of the state legislation and not as per the regulations of the University Grants Commission. The counsel for John said the issue related to the dispute between entries in the state list and union list.

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The issues pertaining to fisheries will come under the category of agriculture in entry 14 of the State List of the Constitution, he said. Moreover, the Kerala Fisheries Act also comes under entry 14 of the State List and hence the UGC regulations have no application in an agricultural university, he added.

The Kerala High Court, on November 14, set aside the appointment of John as the VC of the institution on the ground that he was appointed to the post in violation of the 2018 UGC Regulations. Earlier, the top court, in a separate case, had quashed the appointment of the vice-chancellor of APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University in Thiruvananthapuram, terming it bad in law and contrary to UGC regulations.


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