Thiruvananthapuram: Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, also the Chancellor of varsities in the state, has issued an order appointing Dr M Rosalind George as the interim Vice Chancellor of Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS).
Kannur native Rosalind is the wife of Dr K Riji John, whose VC appointment was set aside by the High Court.
The Governor had sought the University to submit a list of senior professors who could take up the charge of the VC. Rosalind is the first on the 3 member list of senior professors submitted by the University.
Rosalind, who is the senior-most among the professors, is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Fisheries Sciences. The VC’s charge is in addition to her current responsibility as the dean.
The governor’s decision comes in the wake of the Kerala High Court on November 14 quashing the appointment of Dr K Riji John as the VC of KUFOS on the ground that he was appointed in violation of University Grants Commission (UGC) norms.
The court quashed the 2020 notification issued by the Governor appointing the selection committee, its 2021 resolution recommending only one name and 2021 order of the chancellor appointing John as VC for a period of five years or till he attains the age of 65, whichever is earlier.
The Bench also directed the chancellor to constitute a selection committee for recommendation of a panel of names in accordance with the UGC regulations at the earliest.
The High Court order had come on the pleas, moved by the applicants who participated in the selection process to the post of VC of KUFOS, challenging the appointment of John.
Khan had sought resignation of the 11 VCs, including that of KUFOS, based on a Supreme Court order which, while quashing appointment of the VC of of APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, had said that according to the UGC, a list of three suitable candidates has to be given to the chancellor.
The apex court had also said a non-academician should not be part of the selection committee as per UGC regulations.
According to Khan, the regulations were violated in the appointment of the 11 VCs and he, subsequently, sent them show-cause notices asking why they should be allowed to continue in their posts in view of the apex court decision.
The ruling Left government in Kerala and Khan have been at loggerheads over the issue of functioning of universities and his recent move seeking removal of the 11 Vcs.
The Governor said the ordinance issued by the government seeking to remove him as the chancellor of universities is "infructuous" now as the state assembly has been summoned.