Kerala govt to bring in ordinance to replace Governor as Chancellor of universities in state

Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan said he would not sign if the government sends an ordinance to remove him as chancellor of state universities.

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 9 (PTI) The Kerala government on Wednesday decided to come out with an ordinance to replace the Governor as Chancellor of universities in the state and appoint eminent academicians to that post, a move which has been opposed both by the Congress and BJP.

The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting held during the day, a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said.

The LDF government’s move comes amidst its ongoing tussle with Governor Arif Mohammed Khan over functioning of universities, including appointment of Vice Chancellors, in the state.

The government’s move has been opposed by both the Congress and BJP in the state that have alleged that the cabinet decision was aimed at turning universities in Kerala into “Communist centres”.

They also alleged that if the ordinance is promulgated, all appointments — including that of Vice Chancellors — in the universities would be decided at the AKG Centre, the state headquarters of the ruling CPI(M).

In the cabinet meeting, it was decided to recommend to Khan to promulgate the ordinance which would amend the University Laws regarding appointment of chancellor by removing the section which states that the Governor shall also be at the helm of 14 varsities in the state, the CMO statement said.

It further said that in the meeting, the cabinet also considered the recommendations of the Punchhi Commission, headed by former Chief Justice of India Madan Mohan Punchhi, that it would not be appropriate to appoint the Governor as the head of the universities as he has other duties too under the Constitution.

In view of the panel’s recommendations and the importance given by the government to higher education in the state, it was decided to appoint eminent academicians as Chancellors of universities, the statement said.

The cabinet was of the view that it would be beneficial to have persons with expertise in the field of higher education at the helm of the universities to formulate a long-term plan to raise Kerala’s higher education centres to international standards.

State Higher Education Minister R Bindu also confirmed this while speaking to reporters.

Bindu said that the government has taken the decision to replace the Governor with eminent academicians as Chancellors for bringing long-term reforms in higher education and universities in the state.

On queries whether Khan would sign the ordinance, the minister said she hopes that he would act according to his constitutional duties.

In an apparent reference to the recent move by Khan against appointment of VCs of 11 universities in the state, Bindu also said that recently there were interferences in the functioning of varsities which aimed at making them rudderless and that definitely raised concerns with regard to the status of higher education in Kerala.

Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan opposed the cabinet decision and said that it was aimed at making universities as “Communist centres”.

He said changing the Chancellor was not the solution or remedy for the mistakes of the government and the chief minister.

If the Governor is removed, then just as relatives and favourites of party leaders were appointed through the backdoor, VCs would be selected at the AKG Centre.

He said the decision would only harm higher education in the state like what happened in West Bengal.
Satheesan also alleged that the ordinance was also aimed at overriding the recent Supreme Court verdict regarding appointment of VCs.

BJP state general secretary M T Ramesh also spoke along similar lines. He said the ordinance was being brought in as the Governor did not agree with the state government’s alleged plans to appoint relatives and favourites of CPI(M) leaders in the universities.

“Therefore, they decided to remove a Governor who was against corruption and nepotism. The decision is anti-people, anti-education and anti-students. It will be detrimental to the progress of universities, would set them back and turn them into centres of CPI(M),” the BJP leader alleged.

Like Satheesan, he too said that the ordinance, if issued, would result in all university appointments being decided at the CPI(M)’s state headquarters.

Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by The Sen Times staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds.
Source: PTI