Kerala assembly: UDF gears up to oppose Bills on Lokayukta, state universities

VD Satheesan. Photo:ANI

Thiruvananthapuram: As the LDF government in Kerala gets ready to bring in laws which would amend powers of the Lokayukta and the Chancellor, the Congress-led UDF opposition is gearing up to oppose the same.

Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the state assembly V D Satheesan said both the bills which seek to amend the Lokayukta Act and the powers of universities to make appointments would be opposed in the House during the 10-day session of the assembly which commenced on Monday.

While the Kerala Lok Ayukta (Amendment) Bill is being brought in the wake of expiry of an ordinance which had the same provisions, the bill to amend varsities' powers to make appointments comes amidst the ongoing stand-off between the state government and Governor Arif Mohammed Khan.

The bill to amend the universities' powers is reportedly meant to curtail the powers of the Governor as Chancellor.

Satheesan, speaking to mediapersons here, said the bill regarding the universities powers was being brought to make "favourites of the government" as Vice Chancellors so that relatives of CPI(M) leaders can be appointed to teaching positions in the varsities.

Such steps would destroy the quality and credibility of the universities in Kerala at a time when the number of children applying for graduate and post graduate courses in universities in the state was decreasing, he alleged.

Kerala is losing its human resources to universities outside the state or abroad he claimed, adding that it was a dangerous situation.

The LoP further said that appointing relatives of CPI(M) leaders in teaching positions in universities could lead to unrest among the youth and the academic community.

Satheesan also said that he does not agree with the Governor calling the VC a criminal in view of the position that Khan holds. At the same time, the opposition was not going to take sides between the state government and Khan as they can enter into a compromise anytime, he further said.

The Congress leader said that just like how appointments to non-teaching staff in universities was left to the Public Service Commission, recruitment to teaching positions should also be left to the PSC. Only through this method nepotism can be prevented in appointments, he further said.

Passing bills is not a simple task and this incorrect approach of the government will lead to protests inside and outside the House, Satheesan said.


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