HC says norms flouted, junks Kerala University VC’s appointment, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms


KOCHI/THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala HC on Monday quashed the appointment of the vice-chancellor of Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS), saying the appointment was made in violation of UGC norms.

The order, which apparently vindicates Governor Arif Mohammed Khan’s move seeking resignation of 11 VCs in the state over the violation, is a blow to the Left government which has been opposing him on the issue.

A bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly said the selection of K Riji John as the VC of KUFOS cannot, what the judges said, be sustained under law as it overlooks the UGC regulations of 2018 regarding appointment of VCs.

It held that the search-cum-selection committee, which recommended only his name for appointment, was also against the norms.

“Taking into consideration the law accordingly, we have no hesitation to hold that the selection of K Riji John as the VC of KUFOS, overlooking the UGC Regulations, 2018, cannot be sustained under law,” it said.

As a result, the court quashed the 2020 notification issued by the governor appointing the selection committee, its 2021 resolution recommending only one name and 2021 order of the chancellor appointing John as VC for five years or till he attains the age of 65, whichever is earlier.

The bench directed the chancellor to constitute a selection committee for recommendation of a panel of names in accordance with the UGC regulations at the earliest. At the same time, the court said the contentions that John lacked the requisite years of service for appointment as VC were not legally sustainable.

The verdict was welcomed by BJP and Congress and both said the judgment hit the government hard. However, CPI(M) said the verdict would be legally examined and appropriate steps taken after that.

Khan had sought resignation of 11 VCs, including that of KUFOS, based on an SC order which, while quashing appointment of the VC of of APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, had said as per UGC, a list of three suitable candidates has to be given to chancellor. The SC had said a non-academician should not be part of the selection panel as per UGC regulations. As per Khan, the regulations were violated in the appointment of the 11 VCs and he sent them showcause notices asking why they should be allowed to continue in their posts in view of SC decision.


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