Chancellor not above university law: VCs tell Governor

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The Governor said he was obliged to implement the Supreme Court verdict.

Arif Mohammad Khan | Photo: PTI

Thiruvananthapuram: The vice-chancellors of universities have told Governor Arif Mohammed Khan that the Chancellor does not have any powers above the university law. The argument was made by the VCs who were asked to tender their resignation by the governor citing the Supreme Court order quashing the appointment of KTU VC Rajashree.

The governor had, on October 23, asked the vice-chancellors of 11 universities to tender their resignation before 11:30 am on October 24.

On December 3, Khan served a notice to nine VCs asking them to appear for a hearing on December 12 at Raj Bhavan. The vice-chancellors appeared for the hearing on Monday. High Court advocate PC Sasidharan appeared representing the University of Calicut, CUSAT and Malayalam University.

Sasidharan argued that the Chancellor does not enjoy the constitutional powers of the Governor. The other VCs argued that UGC regulation was not above state law. They noted that their appointment was made as per the university laws in Kerala.

The Governor, however, pointed out that he was obliged to implement the top court verdict and uphold the integrity of the constitution.

Sasidharan reacted that the illegal exercise of power would create chaos. He argued that the Governor was just one among the authorities and officers at the university. He only enjoys the power to work under the laws of each university, he stated.

The counsel of the universities also stated that the university law clearly prescribes how a Chancellor and a VC should perform their duties. No one has any power beyond this, he pointed out.

"The Chancellor formed the search committee and appointed the VCs. The Chancellor cannot rectify the mistake in his decision, only a higher authority or the court has the power to do so. Hence, the chancellor has also committed a mistake in the appointment of VCs", Sasidharan argued.

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