In light of the controversy surrounding Governor Arif Mohammad Khan’s decision to ask vice chancellors of nine universities to resign, the Kerala High Court is scheduled to hold a special session on Monday at 4 p.m. The Kerala Governor’s directive, which was issued in accordance with a Supreme Court order, has generated a significant controversy in the southern state, with the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) announcing on Sunday that it would organise protests in opposition to it. The vice chancellors have now filed a high court petition challenging the directive.
At a press conference on Monday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urged the VCs not to resign. Vijayan asserted that the governor has no authority to seek the resignation of vice chancellors. He continued by saying that the governor is responsible for any irregularities in the appointments.
The chief minister was quoted by news agency PTI as stating, “It was the governor who appointed them, and the blame of illegality in appointment-if there is any-equally lies with him.” Vijayan criticised the governor’s action as “strange” and charged that he was “waging a war” against the state’s universities.
The vice chancellors of nine universities—the University of Kerala, Mahatma Gandhi University, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kannur University, APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University, Shree Shankaracharya University of Sanskrit, University of Calicut, and Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University—were asked to resign by 11:30 a.m. on Monday, according to instructions given by the Kerala Governor on Sunday. A Supreme Court ruling on the vice chancellor of the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University’s appointment being revoked for violating University Grants Commission regulations was referenced in a statement released on Twitter by his office.
While the state’s higher education minister, R. Bindu, said that “an unfortunate situation” had been created, law minister P. Rajeev stepped up the attack, saying that nowhere in any UGC regulation or in the Constitution, it was mentioned that the Chancellor should be the Governor.
Meanwhile, leader of the opposition VD Satheesan welcomed the move: “I welcome the fact that the Governor is ready to correct the mistake he made by cooperating with the illegal appointments of the Pinarayi government. The Governor’s decision has come as a setback to the government’s move to appoint vice-chancellors in defiance of UGC norms and procedures”.