Kerala University: HC blocks governor from appointing new senate members

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Arif Mohammad Khan I Photo: Mathrubhumi

Kochi: Kerala High Court on Friday passed an interim order blocking governor Arif Mohammad Khan from making new appointments to the senate of Kerala University.

However, the High Court refused to stay the governor's dismissal of 15 senate members.

Governor had recently ordered to remove the members who ‘refrained’ from attending the meeting slated to select a representative for the search committee to find the new vice-chancellor.

Following this, the expelled members challenged the decision in the high court. The next hearing is on October 31. Until then, the governor cannot make fresh appointments.

The senate has to recommend a member to the search committee for electing the next vice-chancellor of Kerala university, as VP Mahadevan Pillai's term ends on October 24.

The Governor, who is also the chancellor of the university, formed the committee while the government was mooting changes to its format to give the state an upper hand in the process. The governor's decision to form the committee without waiting for the university to decide on its representative irked the government and the varsity. In the last meeting of the senate, the members supporting the government allegedly stayed away to make sure that the quorum was not met. This forced the governor to act.

Though the governor initially asked the VC to remove the 'dissenting' members of the senate, VC replied that there are legal hurdles in doing so. Following this, the governor himself issued the order.

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the VC said that some of the removed are ex-officio members and the governor does not have the power to sack them. Meanwhile, law minister P Rajeev said the government will review if there are any lapses from the side of Raj Bhavan in the move.

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