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Kerala government tables University Laws (Amendment) Bill to replace Governor as Chancellor of varsities

Kerala Law Minister P Rajeev introduced the bill in the assembly. Opposition leaders objected to presenting the bill amendment.

ANI |

The Kerala government on Wednesday tabled the University Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2022 in the State Assembly to replace the Governor from the post of chancellor in the universities of Kerala.

Kerala Law Minister P Rajeev introduced the bill in the assembly. Opposition leaders objected to presenting the bill amendment, citing that it is against the University Grants Commission (UGC) rule and the Supreme Court verdict. The Opposition said, in reference to the Finance Memorandum, that there will be no additional financial burden from the consolidated funds of the State when these bills become law and come into force is not factual.

While replying in the assembly Law Minister P Rajeev has said that the points raised by the opposition against the bill are mostly political and on the contents of the bill.

“One point raised is if UGC guidelines and state law contradict, then guidelines should stay. You have made a very dangerous political statement. My question is where does Congress, the political party stand on this? Article 254 says if there’s a difference between a law made by the Parliament and a law made by the legislative assembly, the law made by the Parliament will prevail in the concurrent list. What is subordinate legislation? It is legislation made by an authority other than a legislature. It’s a dangerous interpretation that’s seen today.

If Congress is taking this stand, any issue under the concurrent list, any law passed by the assembly can be modified and amended by the Central Government. Are you with that? Is the Opposition saying Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan should be the Chancellor?” he said.

“Kerala Kalamandalam model is what the state government intends to bring in. The appointment of Mallika Sarabhai as Chancellor is enough proof of this,” the law minister said.

He asked what is Congress’ answer to the question of whether the Governor should be removed from the post of the chancellor or not.

He said that the Governor continuing as chancellor of universities is a barrier to the free and transparent working of universities.

According to the amendment bill introduced in the assembly, “the government shall appoint an academician of high repute or a person of eminence in any of the field of science including agriculture and veterinary science, technology, medicine, social science, humanities, literature, art, culture, law or public administration as the chancellor of the university.”

Chancellor is appointed for a period of five years and the person appointed as chancellor shall be eligible for reappointment of one or more terms. The chancellor may resign his office by an intimation in writing to the government.

The bill has been sent for the consideration of the subject committee.