Kerala Governor orders all VCs’ to resign

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Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala is on the verge of a major political crisis as Arif Mohammed Khan, Governor, issued a directive to all the nine vice-chancellors of the State-owned universities in the State appointed by the CPI(M) led Government to submit their resignations before Monday 11.30 am.

The directive was issued through the Twitter handle of the Governor. “Upholding the verdict of Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 21.10.22 in Civil Appeal Nos.7634-7635 of 2022(@ SLP(c)Nos.21108-21109 of 2021) Hon’ble Governor Shri Arif Mohammed Khan has directed Vice Chancellors of 9 varsities in Kerala to tender resignation.

“Letters directing Vice Chancellors of nine Universities of Kerala to tender their resignation by 1130 a.m on 24 October 2022, have been issued. Letter also emailed to VCs and Registrars of varsities concerned”, said the messages posted by Public Relations Officer, Raj Bhavan.

On Friday, the Supreme Court had declared null and void the appointment of M S Rajasree as the vice-chancellor of APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University as it was in violation of the University Grants Commission’s guidelines.

The Governor’s directive caught the establishment off-guard as there was no time for the Government to approach the Court for a stay as Monday being Diwali is a closed holiday. The Governor, while addressing a meeting at Ernakulam on Saturday had said in his speech that the Constitution as well as the Supreme Court have made it clear about the role of the Governor.

Since the CPI(M) wrested power in the State in 2016 appointments of all vice-chancellors were decided by the party State Secretariat. Only card holding members or fellow travellers were considered for the post of vice-chancellors and this has caused resentment among the State’s intelligentsia. The designs of the CPI(M) in usurping powers of universities could be seen in the appointment of vice-chancellors at Sree Sankara Sanskrit University at Kalady. Persons with no knowledge of Sanskrit are appointed as the vice-chancellors of this university. There is total anarchy in this University as well as other universities in the State thanks to the total disregard the CPI(M) has for values in education.

K Ramkumar, senior advocate, and constitutional expert is of the view that the Governor is within his right to ask for the resignations of the vice-chancellors. “Though the October 21 verdict by the Supreme Court was on the appointment of the vice-chancellor of the technical university, the same verdict is applicable to others too as all of them were appointed in violation of UGC guidelines,” said Ramkumar.

M V Govindan, state secretary of the CPI(M) said the Governor’s action was mad decision. “The BJP knows too well that it is going to lose the 2024 Lok Sabha election and the party would never come to power in India again. Hence it is making use of the Governor to get RSS and Sangh Parivar elements appointed as vice-chancellors in Universities. We will not allow the writ of the Governor in Kerala. He is acting as an RSS worker,” said Govindan.

Minister for Higher education R Bindu, who is also the spouse of CPI(M)leader Vijayaraghavan said it was unfortunate that the Governor was acting in a most undemocratic manner. “This is an effort to create total anarchy in the higher education sector in the State. The Kerala Government will face this situation and protect the education sector from the attacks of the Sangh Parivar,” she said.

Former education minister E T Mohammed Basheer MP, too said the Governor’s action was not with good intention. At no point of time democracy has come under severe threat and pressure like this,” he said.

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