Governor Arif Mohammed Khan | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Kochi: Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan has suffered a massive blow as the Kerala High Court on Monday ruled that government could remove Prof Ciza Thomas from the post of VC in charge of APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University (KTU). The state government has every right to replace her by suggesting a panel of other names to the Governor, who is also the chancellor of the university.
The present appointment is for a period not exceeding six months in the aggregate till the regular VC assumes the office and as a result, the state can replace the person even before six months, the court ruled. The court noted that two conditions to comply are 1)UGC procedures should be followed and 2 )a panel of a minimum of three other names should be suggested.
The court was abjudicating the government's plea against Khan's interventions.
Ciza was appointed as the VC in charge following the Supreme Court verdict sacking Dr Rajasree MS as KTU VC for violating UGC norms in her appointment. The appointment was based on the order passed by Khan. The state government raised contentions against it. The government argued that the appointment happened without consultation. The charge of VC must be given to the pro-VC or the higher education principal secretary in case there is no permanent VC. Since the UGC regulation does not specify appointing a temporary VC, the university act must be followed, it argued.
Later, in the legal fight, the single bench upheld that the state government holds the power to choose the interim vice-chancellor. It refused to intervene in the appointment. The division bench upheld the same, but with clarification on the state government's powers.