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Kerala Govt introduces Bill to remove governor as chancellor

Law Minister P Rajeeve defended the Bill citing recommendations of various expert panels, including the Punchhi Commission and other higher education committees.

Statesman News Service | Thiruvananthapuram |

The LDF Government in Kerala introduced the University Laws (Amendment) Bill in the Assembly on Wednesday. The new legislation seeks to replace the governor as the chancellor of universities in the state and appoint eminent academicians for the top post.

While introducing the Bill in the House, Law Minister P Rajeeve said the Left Government decided to come up with the Bill considering the recommendations of various expert panels, including the Punchhi Commission and other higher education committees.

However, the Opposition alleged that the Bill, which they said was prepared in haste, flouts the UGC guidelines.

Leader of the Opposition VD Satheesan pointed out that the Supreme Court has set aside the appointment of Rajasree MS as vice-chancellor of the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological university as it violated the UGC regulations. Therefore, he said introducing a Bill that violates the UGC norms will lead to more problems in future.

After a three-hour debate, the Bill was referred to the Subject Committee for further discussions.

The state cabinet last week approved the draft Bill to remove the governor from the chancellor’s post and appoint independent chancellors to all 14 universities in the state. The existing law will be amended in a way that each of the 14 universities will have separate Chancellors.

Governor Arif Mohammad Khan and the government have clashed several times over appointments of vice-chancellors and teachers in varsities, prompting the latter to remove him from the chancellor’s post.