Governor slams Kerala Govt's proposed amendment to curtail powers of Chancellor

Arif Mohammad Khan | File Photo: Rahul R Pattom
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan. Photo: Manorama Online.

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has slammed the reported move of the state government to bring in legislation to curtail the powers and functions of the Chancellor of state universities.

On Tuesday, the Kerala Cabinet approved the bill that is likely to be introduced in the next session of the Legislative Assembly.

"It is clear that government has certain things to hide. As long as I am the Chancellor, I won't allow to break rules. No bill can become a law without the Governor signing it," he told MMTV.

The composition of the search committee for the appointment of Vice-Chancellors (VCs) will be tweaked in the proposed bill, as per reports.

The number of members in the search committee will be increased to five from three. The government is also considering an amendment whereby the governor has to nominate a candidate it suggests.

Existing method
The current search committee, which includes nominees of the Governor, University Grants Commission (UGC) and university, suggests a panel for VC appointment to the Governor.

The Governor who is the Chancellor, then selects a nominee from the panel.

What spurred the new bill
Arif Mohammed Khan had expressed unease with the State Government for the manner in which VCs of Calicut, Kannur and Sanskrit universities were appointed.

The bill aimed at amending the constitution of the search committee has been drafted to prevent the recurrence of such an instance.

Moreover, the State government will find it difficult to appoint a candidate of its choice if the nominees of the Governor and UGC nominee are different.

The present three-member committee can submit a panel of three to five names.

As per the proposed amendment, if two out of three nominees suggest a new panel of candidates, the latter would be the official choice of the search committee.

With the proposed amendment, when both the university nominee and the Governor recommend the panel suggested by the government, only the person chosen by the State Government can be selected.

Even if the UGC nominee recommends a different panel, the Governor cannot consider it.

A higher education reforms panel headed by Prof Shyam B Menon had recently suggested that each university should have a separate vice-chancellor with the chief minister becoming a ‘visitor’ to all universities.

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