Kerala varsity stymies Guv's bid to form VC search panel

Kerala University. Photo: Manorama
Kerala University. Photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: The ties between the Kerala State Government and the Governor are frayed with the latter often refusing to budge over the affairs of universities. Two higher education institutions in Kerala — Kannur University and the University of Kerala — are in the midst of the ongoing tussle between the Governor and the State administration.

In what may lead to yet another stand-off, the selection of a Senate representative to the Search Committee formed by the Governor for the appointment of Vice-Chancellor to University of Kerala has been omitted from the agenda of a special senate meeting scheduled on Saturday.

Only upon naming the senate representative can the VC appointment process, set in motion by the Chancellor, who is the Governor himself, be completed. The University's move is deemed a rebuff to Governor Arif Mohammad Khan.

The delay in naming the senate representative will defeat the entire purpose as the term of the Search Committee is only three months.

The Government is set to introduce an amendment bill to curtail the Governor's power in VC appointments in the next assembly session. The selection of the senate representative can be made only after the approval of bills to effect changes in the Search Committee structure and increase the strength of committee members.

A special senate meeting on July 15 proposed the name of Planning Board Vice Chairperson V K  Ramachandran as the senate representative to the Search Committee. However, the official withdrew himself. Since the deadline for setting up the Search Committee expired, the Governor then formed a three-member committee by including only representatives of the Chancellor and the University Grants Commission. The notification, though, made it clear that the senate representative will be included in the Committee as and when the name for the post is finalized.

The election of the student representative to the syndicate and the allotment of a new self-financing course in an aided college are the only agendas in today's senate meeting. However, it’s not clear whether the selection of the senate representative and the motion against the Governor will be taken up for discussion as items outside the agenda.

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