Escalating his tussle with the Kerala Government, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan Monday alleged Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had personally intervened in seeking the re-appointment of Dr Gopinath Ravindran as the Kannur University Vice-Chancellor.
Addressing the media, Khan said Vijayan had met him at the Raj Bhavan seeking re-appointment of Ravindran even after he, as the chancellor, had notified the search committee to select the next V-C. “I told Vijayan that I would give weightage to him,” said Khan while releasing a few letters written by the chief minister to the Raj Bhavan in this regard.
Khan said the State Government had sought the legal opinion of the Advocate-General on the issue keeping him in dark and he had expressed his intention to vacate as the chancellor of the universities. “Then, I was told that I should not quit. The Government gave the assurance that they would not interfere with the autonomy of the universities. After that, the Government decided to change the selection process of the V-Cs in the universities.”
Instead of a three-member search committee, they have decided to form a five-member panel. Accordingly, V-Cs would be appointed on the majority of the opinion.
Last month, the Kerala Assembly passed the contentious University Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which would result in curtailing the powers of the governor as the chancellor of state universities. The bill would restrict the authority of the governor, who holds the position of chancellor, in appointing VCs of universities.
The bill would become an act only after Khan gives his nod as the Governor. The matter is yet to be decided by Khan, who has been reiterating that he would not allow dilution of the autonomy of the state universities and that he would not remain as a mere rubber stamp.
Earlier in the day, Khan alleged that a senior functionary, currently working at the chief minister’s office, had prevented the police from taking action when Khan had faced protests over his remarks on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in 2019.
Khan also presented a video of the inauguration of the Indian History Congress in Kannur during the press conference at Raj Bhavan to make his point.