Supreme Court judgment quashing Kannur VC reappointment not setback for govt: Pinarayi Vijayan

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. File photo: Manorama

Shoranur (Palakkad): There is no basis for the propaganda that the Supreme Court’s judgment cancelling the re-appointment of the Kannur Vice Chancellor Gopinath Ravindran is a setback for the state government, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarari Vijayan said on Friday.

The Chief Minister was addressing a press conference organised in Shoranur as part of the ongoing Nava Kerala Sadas, an outreach programme of the state government where the state cabinet will travel to all assembly constituencies. The Sadas entered its tour to Palakkad district on Friday.

“The single bench and the division bench of the Kerala High Court had earlier ruled that the re-appointment of Professor Gopinath Ravindran to the Vice Chancellor’s post of Kannur University was legal and constitutional. It is understood that the Supreme Court has also fully upheld these rulings. The opposition and some media came forward questioning the validity of Ravindran’s appointment. It should be mentioned here that no court of the country, including the Supreme Court, accepted that argument against the validity of the appointment,” said the chief minister adding that the finding of the Supreme Court is that no existing UGC rules regarding reappointment have been violated.

“Even judges said in the verdict that the chancellor’s stance is surprising to them. The Chancellor is the one who reappointed Ravindran as the Vice Chancellor. He himself appeared before the court and said that his appointment was against the UGC rules. However, the Supreme Court has found that the reappointment is in accordance with the rules and regulations. Yet, the chancellor told the news media, even after the verdict came out, that he appointed the vice chancellor due to external pressure. This is a strange position,” wondered Vijayan.

The chief minister said it is not true that the legal advice of the Advocate General was conveyed from the Chief Minister’s office to the Chancellor. “The legal advice of the Advocate General was given to the Additional Chief Secretary, Higher Education Department. It is the Higher Education Department that delivered the legal advice to the Chancellor’s office at Raj Bhavan. It was as per the request that the Chief Minister’s Office visited the Chancellor and explained various aspects of the University Act regarding re-appointment. The chancellor himself had verbally demanded legal advice from the advocate general. Now, the chancellor interprets these too as external pressure.”

Vijayan went on to ask: “According to the Kannur University Act, the State Minister for Higher Education is the ex-officio Pro-Chancellor. A letter written by the Pro-Chancellor to the Chancellor is interpreted as external pressure. How can correspondence between two authorities under the same Act be considered as an external pressure?”

The Kerala government is making an intensive effort to bring about timely changes and progress in the field of higher education at a time when in many parts of the country, communal forces are trying to dominate the universities, claimed the chief minister. “In many states, the curriculum is filled with hate ideology. Kerala stands apart in all of them. There will be those interested in destroying that reputation and subverting progress. We should recognise them,” said the chief minister pointing towards the opposition who came heavily on the state government following the Supreme Court verdict on the VC appointment.

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