Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, on Monday, said the state government does not have the power to remove him as the chancellor of the universities as he holds the office of the chancellor following a national consensus.
Speaking to media persons in Kochi, Arif Mohammed Khan said that the governors are holding the office of chancellor on the basis of a national consensus arrived at the national level in the early 1950s and a report from a National Commission, and no state government can go against it.
He said governors used to hold the office of the chancellor even before the formation of Kerala state came into existence and it is not a favour done by the state government.
“Even before the Kerala state was formed in 1956, the governor was the chancellor of state universities. So, it is not a favour done by the state government,” the Governor said
He said that the governor is the Chancellor of the universities to safeguard their autonomy and to insulate them from executive interference.
The Governor’s comments came in the backdrop of the ongoing attempts by the Kerala government to remove him from the chancellorship of the universities in the state, for which the state cabinet cleared an ordinance recently. The LDF government is reportedly decided to bring a bill in the Assembly to remove the governor from the position of chancellors of the universities in the state.
Commenting on the proposed bill to remove him from chancellorshi, of the universities, he said the state government, which was upset by the recent court verdicts in the appointments of vice-chancellors, is trying to cover up its embarrassment.
Speaking on the Kerala High Court verdict quashing the proposed appointment of Priya Varghese, wife of chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s private secretary, as associated professor at the Malayalam department in the university, the Governor said that the high court verdict in the case was not a personal vindication for him.
He said it was not a personal fight. “My duty is to ensure that the law of the land is upheld. My job is to see that the universities are free from executive interference.”
He further said his job to see that under-qualified and unqualified people are not appointed to various posts in the universities just because they are related to political parties and their leaders.
Without naming Priya Varghese, Governor Khan said if she is a meritorious candidate, she should be appointed to any post.
Reiterating that he will not allow favouritism and nepotism in university appointments, the Governor said “As long as I am here, I will not allow appointment of unqualified persons in the universities.”
The Governor said the common people must be given the feeling that all are equal before law and all will get the protection of law
“It is important that the common man should have the feeling that there is equality and equal protection before the law,” he said.