Governor expresses his displeasure with the Ordinance that seeks to cut him to size

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan during his interview with Manorama News. Screengrab: Manorama News.

Thiruvananthapuram: Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has given a clear hint that he will not easily give his approval for the proposed ordinance to strip him of his powers as chancellor. "The Ordinance has not reached me," he told Manorama News in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. The decision to promulgate an ordinance was taken at the Cabinet meeting held in Thiruvananthapuram earlier in the day.

"After it reaches me they (the government) will have to first brief me about the contents. They have to brief me and satisfy me that there are some grounds that made such an ordinance necessary. If they can satisfy me, and since I don't like to sit in judgment of my own cause, I will refer it to the President," the Governor said.

The Governor also gave the impression that it would be difficult to satisfy him of the inevitability of the ordinance. "The Supreme Court has made it absolutely clear that the government has no business to appoint the vice-chancellor. If they have no right to appoint the VC what right do they have to appoint the chancellor?" he said.

The Governor said that any interference in the running of universities by the government has been prohibited by the UGC regulations, which were laid down in the first place to protect the autonomy of universities.

Further, he said that he had in his possession a letter from the Chief Minister assuring him that there would not be political interference of any kind in the running of the universities. "They have no sense of honour," Governor Khan said.

He said the government had sent him four letters requesting him not to renounce his chancellorship. He said three of them he had rejected and the fourth by the Chief Minister was accepted only after he was fully satisfied that the government had conceded all his demands related to the autonomy of institutions.

Khan said it was political pressure that had forced him to declare earlier that he was abdicating his role as chancellor. "If I continue as chancellor, they will be pressuring me to do illegal things. I will be acting against my own better judgment," the Governor said.

He was referring to the pressure mounted on him by the advocate general who advised him that it was perfectly lawful to do away with the search-cum-selection committee and re-appoint Gopinath Ravindran as the VC of Kannur University. "He (the AG) misled me to believe what he was suggesting was lawful," the Governor said.
It was to appease a fuming Governor that the Chief Minister had then assured him of absolute non-interference. Khan had even earlier said that the assurance was not honoured.

Now, after the Supreme Court verdict nullifying the appointment of the VC at Abdul Kalam Technological University, the Governor said the situation has "radically altered". He said the Supreme Court had made it categorically clear that all appointments made violating the UGC Regulations were invalid.

The Governor said the verdict had upheld the concept of autonomy where the executive could not interfere in the functioning of universities. "I will apply the UGC Regulations for even interim arrangements that will have to be made," he said, a clear reference to his rejection of names suggested by the government to function as the interim VC of the Technological University.

Now, it is the Governor's pick, Ciza Thomas, who has taken over as the VC-in-Charge of the Technological University.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.