Ordinance to curb Chancellor powers; Kerala Governor hardens stand

Governor Arif Mohammad Khan
Governor Arif Mohammad Khan

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan may not sign the ordinance curbing the Governor’s powers as Chancellor in the appointment of the Vice Chancellor even if the Cabinet approves and sends it to him. The Governor can delay signing the ordinance or even send it to the President for approval.

If the ordinance is returned without signing, the Governor may have to sign it once the Cabinet approves it again and sends it back to him. Instead, he can inordinately delay signing the ordinance by raising doubts about it. Even if the bill is passed by the Assembly, the Governor can postpone the approval in the same manner.

He can also send it for the President’s approval pointing out that it is against the Centre’s rules. In that case, the State would not know when the bill would be returned.

Over the past two days, the Governor's actions are clearly suggestive of his hardening the stand against the State Government regarding the VC appointment.

Even before the Government came up with the ordinance curtailing his powers in the VC appointment, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan made a swift move and constituted a search committee to appoint the Kerala University VC.

Following this, he also sought an explanation from Kannur University Vice Chancellor regarding the Associate Professor appointment rank list of Priya Varghese, who is the wife of Chief Minister’s private secretary K K Ragesh.

The Governor, who is now in Delhi, is expected to be back in Raj Bhavan late in the night on August 11.

Other pressing concerns

Other matters the Governor has to settle soon include the CAG report on misappropriation at Kerala University, the appointments in Board of Studies in Kannur and the illegal affiliation, the alleged illegal appointment of assistant professor at Sanskrit University and the reservation sabotage in teachers’ appointment at Calicut University.

The Governor had summoned the office-bearers of the ‘Save the University Campaign’ Committee, who had made complaints regarding such disruptions in the Universities and asked them for the details, two weeks ago. They were called up again late last week to collect further information.

Khan had expressed his protest and delayed approval many times earlier in such matters. However, when the Chief Minister or the Ministers talked it out to him, he used to come around. It is being hinted that there could be a change in this pattern in the current situation.

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