I have not sacked the VCs, only suggested an honourable exit: Kerala Guv

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan during a press conference on Sept 19, 2022. Photo: Rinku Raj Mattancheril/Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has justified his order calling for the resignation of the vice-chancellors (VCs) of nine state universities saying he was only suggesting an honourable way out for them.

Addressing the media at Raj Bhavan on Monday, he reiterated that he is only trying to uphold the verdict of the Supreme Court, which said the selection process of the VCs that is repugnant to the University Grants Commission (UGC) norms, shall be void ab initio (having no legal effect from inception).

“The SC order never cast any aspersions on the vice-chancellors. Even in the matter regarding the VC of the Technical University, the observation was not against the individual, but against the selection process. The VC, as a matter of fact, has been working quite efficiently. Hence, by asking them to tender their resignation, I was only suggesting an honourable way out for them so the selection process can be held afresh,” said the governor.

He expressed his sympathies for “two or three vice-chancellors”, who he thought were outstanding in their job. “Sadly though, the SC has left me with no other option. Then again, the current lot are welcome to reapply to the post, as the SC's order is not against any of these individuals,” he further said.

He also clarified that the show cause notices were issued to the vice-chancellors after they refused to give up their post formally. “They have time till November 3, and I may even be willing to consider their appeal if the reason is cogent,” he added.

'Always shared a great relationship with media'

Before clarifying his stand on the VC chaos, Governor Khan took a moment to express his respect for the media.

Earlier in the day, he refused to talk to media persons, who had gathered to take his response to the chief minister's press conference, saying he would not talk to party (CPM) workers masquerading as journalists and that he would only address all questions at the Raj Bhavan.

“I have great respect for the media. I consider media absolutely essential for the efficient functioning of a democracy. This has been my attitude ever since my ministerial days. I have always enjoyed a great relationship with the media,” said the governor.

Taking a jibe at the chief minister, he said it was not him who asked the media to “get out”. He said he was making his stand clear as he felt the media might misinterpret that he was being unnecessarily rude to them.

Khan uses Pinarayi's expression to prove a point

During the press meet, Khan used a couple of Malayalam expressions that were earlier used by the chief minister. 

He said that tricksters (those indulging in 'cheppadi vidya') should be controlled using their own tricks ('pippidi vidya'). 

The governor defended his criticism against the Kannur VC. "What shall I call the perpetrator of the crime other than criminal," he asked. 

"Recently, the High Court also criticised the Kannur VC. He was not carrying out my orders, nor responding to the letter," Khan said.

"When the Kerala VC responded, he even insulted the President. I called him six times. But he didn't even show the courtesy to return the call. He was not ready to implement many constitutional matters," Khan told the media.

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