In a setback to Governor Arif Mohammed Khan,the Kerala High Court on Friday quashed the order of Governor in his capacity as Chancellor of the Kerala University , withdrawing the nomination of 15 members from the Kerala University Senate.
Quashing the orders of the governor as chancellor of the university, a single bench of Justice Sathish Ninan held that the order invoking the doctrine of pleasure was unsustainable in law and arbitrary.
“The withdrawal of the nominated members is not for any alleged illegal act. While this court is not to sit in judgment or appeal over the reasons for the withdrawal of nomination, it is evident that the order is not based on any reason, but was rather founded on prejudice,” the court ruled.
Calling it an unreasoned act, without regard to the facts and circumstances, the court observed, “From all the above points to arbitrariness, it appears that the chancellor was under a misconception regarding the role of nominee, which also contributed to the arbitrary action. Therefore, on the facts as noticed above, this court finds that the order withdrawing the nominated members suffers from the vice of arbitrariness.”
The court said the governor’s order withdrawing the nominees by invoking the pleasure doctrine under the 4th proviso to Section 18(3) of the University Act cannot be sustained and is liable to be interfered with. When the University statute provides for a specific term of office and does not provide for withdrawal there from at pleasure, the doctrine of pleasure does not operate.
The order came in the wake of a petition filed by the Senate members of the university, who have been removed from the Senate .They have challenged the order of the governor as chancellor of the university, removing them from the Senate by withdrawing his pleasure to continue as senate members.