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Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan meets RSS Chief

The meeting took place at the residence of an RSS leader for 30 minutes. The meeting came amid the face-off between the state government and the Governor

ANI | Thiruvanthapuram |

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan met RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat at Thrissur on Saturday.

The meeting took place at the residence of an RSS leader for 30 minutes. The meeting came amid the face-off between the state government and the Governor over the University Laws Amendment Bill.

“How do you expect me to remain silent if I see that the exchequer is being looted?…All documentary evidence will be produced tomorrow,” said Khan on university appointments.

Meanwhile, sources from the Governor’s office stated that it was a courtesy call. Also, the governor refused to speak to the media after the meeting.
Earlier, Khan on Saturday said that all the appointments in the universities will be made on the basis of merit and he will not give the authority to appoint vice-chancellors to the state government as it amounts to “executive interference”.

“Everything will be considered on merit. The government cannot be given the power to appoint the Vice Chancellors. I am saying it clearly, this will amount to executive interference,” said Khan said on the matter of the University Laws Amendment Bill.

“The Chief Minister (Pinarayi Vijayan) had written to me assuring me that there will be no interference and now they are proposing that they will appoint Vice-Chancellor. That would mean the erosion of autonomy of educational institutions,” the Governor added mentioning that as long as he remains in power, he won’t let universities’ autonomy erode.

“As long as I am here, I won’t allow the erosion of the autonomy of universities,” he said.

He also mentioned that “underqualified and unqualified people” cannot be appointed just because they are associated with the CM.

The University Laws Amendment Bill, which aims to curtail the power of the Governor in the selection of vice-chancellors, was passed by Kerala government this month. Since then, the bill has been pending before the Governor.

The controversy pertains to the matter in which the Governor stayed the appointment of Priya Varghese, wife of chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s Private Secretary and CPI (M) leader KK Ragesh, as an Associate Professor in Kannur University’s Malayalam department.

Currently, Varghese is working as deputy director of Kerala Basha Institute. Varghese was an assistant professor in Kerala Varma College in Thrissur and was working at Basha Institute on deputation as deputy director.

Earlier in 2021, a letter from Kerala Higher Education Minister R Bindu was out which recommended the reappointment of Gopinath Ravindran (former VC of the university) as its Vice-Chancellor.

In the letter dated November 22, 2021, to the Governor, she had recommended Gopinath Ravindran may be allowed to continue for another term as Vice-Chancellor and to cancel the notification dated October 27 this year appointing a Search-cum-Selection committee for identifying the person to be appointed as Vice-Chancellor.

In another letter dated November 22, 2021, the higher education minister mentioned that steps have been taken to withdraw the notification inviting applications to select a Vice Chancellor for Kannur University, after which Bindu welcomed the verdict of the Lokayukta to reappoint Ravindran as the university’s vice-chancellor.

However, the High Court of Kerala as well as the Supreme Court dismissed a writ petition, holding that the impugned appointment violated no statutory provisions in the “reappointment” of the man concerned as the Vice-Chancellor.