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Kerala: SC quashing Kannur VC reappointment a major blow to LDF govt

The government, buoyed by a favourable verdict from the High Court, had been claiming that everything was done as per the rules and regulations of the university

Kerala: SC quashing Kannur VC reappointment a major blow to LDF govt

File Photo: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court verdict setting aside the reappointment of Kannur University Vice Chancellor Gopinath Ravindran has come as a major setback and loss of face for the LDF government in Kerala.

The government, buoyed by a favourable verdict from the High Court, had been claiming that everything was done as per the rules and regulations of the university. However, it suffered a double blow when the Supreme Court, while quashing the reappointment, also pointed out “unwarranted interference” on the government’s part.

Gopinath Ravindran’s reappointment as the VC in 2021 had caused an uproar with the opposition parties terming it a quid pro quo for appointing Priya Varghese, the wife of K K Ragesh, the private secretary of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, as an Associate Professor in the Malayalam Department of the university.

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While the opposition targeted Higher Education Minister R Bindu over the reappointment issue of Gopinath Ravindran, the Governor targeted Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Thursday said that state Higher Education Minister R Bindu was not to be blamed as the Chief Minister used her for seeking the re-appointment of Gopinath Ravindran.

“The Higher Education Minister was being used as an instrument. It is morally questionable if the Chief Minister is able to continue on,” the Governor said. The Governor further said that he is not demanding the resignation of any individual in the wake of the Supreme Court order.

KPCC president K Sudhakaran and Leader of Opposition VD Satheesan demanded for Bindu’s resignation. Citing the gross violation and clear-cut intervention by Bindu, Sudhakaran demanded that she step down with immediate effect. Sudhakaran also cast aspersions on Chief Minister Vijayan claiming he lacked the moral right to continue in office.

“The Apex Court verdict is a huge blow to DYFI leaders and their families who politicised the appointments. Pinarayi stooped too low to ensure his private secretary’s wife got an unauthorised job. For favours received, Pinarayi recommended Mani Kumar as chairman of the Kerala State Human Rights Commission. This is only the tip of the iceberg,” alleged Sudhakaran.

Opposition leader VD Satheesan demanded the resignation of the Minister of Higher Education Dr R Bindu. The minister, who is also the Pro Chancellor, violated the UGC norms and the Universities Act and unnecessarily interfered with the autonomy of the universities, he said

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday said that the Supreme Court verdict quashing the reappointment of Gopinath Ravindran was a blow to the Governor.

The Supreme Court has criticised the Governor as the Chancellor of the university for his flawed decision. He is trying to pass the buck on to the government, said Pinarayi Vijayan.

The CM said that his government had done nothing to impede or thwart the decision-making powers of the Governor as the Chancellor of Kannur University. “He got a setback from the Supreme Court because he presented the facts in a flawed manner. He is trying to portray himself as being under extraneous pressures,” said the CM.

 

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