HC cancels appointment of Priya Varghese in Kannur university

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Kochi: The Kerala High Court has cancelled the appointment of Priya Varghese, wife of the Chief Minister's private secretary KK Ragesh, as the associate professor at Kannur University. The court also directed the university to revise the rank list.

"Teaching experience can only be a real fact and not a fiction or an inference. It has to be actual and cannot be construed or inferred," the court said and observed that some of the various spells of teaching experience claimed by Priya Varghese "cannot find favour in law".

The court viewed that Priya Varghese did not have the relevant period of actual teaching experience as stipulated under the University Grants Commission (UGC) Regulations of 2018. Justice Devan Ramachandran added that teaching during the PhD research cannot be considered an experience. The verdict came in a petition filed by Joseph Skariah, who obtained the second rank in the interview conducted by Kannur University for the appointment of associate professor of the Malayalam department.

The high court had remarked that appointments are not "child's play" and enquired whether Kannur University had examined if Priya had the necessary qualifications to be selected as an associate professor.

On Wednesday, High Court opined that the deputation of Priya Varghese as student director of the National Service Scheme cannot be considered a teaching experience. Priya had claimed that the said period would amount to teaching experience in her application for the post.

Earlier, UGC informed HC that the deputation period could only be viewed as a teaching experience if research is done along with teaching. If the research period and the experience as the students’ service director is omitted, Priya Varghese will have an experience of only three and a half years as alleged by the complainant, noted UGC.

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