However, a bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and comprising Justice Hima Kohli issued notice on the petition filed by John challenging the high court judgment. Counsel, representing the Kerala government and John, pressed for a stay on the high court judgment or status quo in the matter, however the bench declined and scheduled the matter for hearing after two weeks.
“If you succeed, you will be reinstated…,” it told counsel.
As it was argued that the university’s administration will come to a standstill, the bench replied that the Chancellor is bound to make some arrangements for two weeks and added that it will dispose of the matter after two weeks. Counsel contended that in the meantime, there should not be any permanent appointment. The bench then, in its order, noted that any action in the meantime will abide by the result of the petition.
It was argued before the bench that fisheries come under the category of agriculture and Kerala Fisheries Act comes under entry 14 of the list two, and the research and education connected with fisheries will be a state subject, therefore UGC regulations do not apply in an agricultural university. Kerala government counsel submitted that there are specific entries in the state list which govern the fisheries university.
John was appointed as the new V-C in December last year, after a three-member search committee recommended his name.
Last month, the Supreme Court set aside the appointment of the Vice Chancellor of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technological University, located in the state capital. Basing its judgment, passed earlier this month, on this apex court judgment, the high court set aside John’s appointment and asked for the formation of a new search committee and a fresh advertisement inviting qualified candidates.