Hc; Bitter Lesson For Cpm & Govt, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms


Kochi: The Kerala high court on Thursday held that most of the work experience claimed by Priya Varghese, wife of chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s private secretary and CPM leader KK Ragesh, for appointment as an associate professor at Kannur University is not valid. Justice Devan Ramachandran ordered the university to reconsider her credentials and decide whether Priya, who came first, should continue in the rank list prepared by the selection committee.

Earlier, governor Arif Mohammad Khan had stayed the rank list prepared for the appointment. Following recent court rulings that overturned the appointment of the KTU and Kufos vice chancellors, Thursday’s HC ruling comes as another major blow to the ruling dispensation and its alleged cronyism in university appointments. However, the government tried to put a brave face with higher education minister R Bindu declaring that, “What the court says is binding for us all. It was Kannur University that appointed Priya Varghese….The government has not intervened in the appointment. Kannur University will decide what the next step would be”.

The high court said Kannur University can take further action for appointment after completing an inquiry into Priya’s credentials and sufficiently modifying the rank list. The order came on a petition filed by Joseph Skariah, Malayalam professor at SB College, Changanassery who came second in the list, alleging that Priya lacked the teaching experience mandated by the UGC Regulations, 2018.

Reacting to the development, Priya said: “I respect the court order.The next course of action will be decided in consultation with legal experts.”

Priya had claimed teaching experience for her tenure as the director of student services, coordinator of National Service Scheme and assistant director of Kerala Bhasha Institute as well as while pursuing a doctorate as a full-time researcher. The UGC, however, informed the court that only posts involving actual teaching can be considered for an associate professor’s appointment. A candidate should be teaching simultaneously to count the research period as teaching experience, as per UGC Regulation 3.1(i). It prescribes eight years of teaching experience and/or research for the post.


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