Kerala HC allows KTU VC in-charge to continue, asks govt to form search panel at the earliest

PTI, Nov 30, 2022, 8:37 AM IST

The Kerala High Court Tuesday allowed Ciza Thomas to continue as vice-chancellor in-charge of the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University but directed the state government to constitute a selection committee and appoint a vice-chancellor as early as possible.

Justice Devan Ramachandran refused to stay the appointment as sought by the Kerala government and said the governor as chancellor can make appointments based on University Grants Commission (UGC) regulations.

”Requesting the university, chancellor and the UGC to give their nominees and constitute a search and selection committee and appoint the VC as early as possible, if possible within three to four months,” the court said.

It also observed that the governor had considered all possible options before appointing Thomas.

Earlier, the Kerala High Court had refused to stay the appointment of the Kerala technical university vice-chancellor in-charge.

The High Court, while accepting that the authority to recommend the name of the vice-chancellor rests with the state government, agreed to the governor’s contention that temporary appointments can be made in accordance with UGC rules and regulations.

It also said such litigations affect the morale of the students and the academicians and one cannot allow ”the image of our universities to be tarnished”.

Justice Ramachandran said Thomas has the necessary qualifications as prescribed by the UGC. The court also observed that it would be better if the two functionaries iron out their difference as normally done.

The Supreme Court in a recent order had quashed the appointment of the vice-chancellor of the technological university here for being contrary to UGC regulations. The governor later appointed a VC in-charge which was challenged before the court. Meanwhile, the Opposition Congress and the BJP attacked the state government over the issue, saying the High Court order was a setback for the Left government.

Leader of Opposition, V D Satheesan, said the high court order vindicated Congress’ stand on the issue.

”When the government and the Governor engage in legal fights, it’s the students who suffer. The education sector in Kerala is currently suffering due to the mistakes made by the government and the governor,” Satheesan said in a statement.

He alleged that the Left government did not allow the acting vice-chancellor to discharge her duties. ”Due to this, numerous students are yet to receive their certificates even after getting jobs.” BJP state chief K Surendran said the high court order is a setback for the Kerala government.

”The court has vindicated the stand of the Kerala governor. The court also asked the Left government to end the CPI(M) mentality of not allowing Ciza Thomas to function.

”The state government should withdraw the review petition filed against the supreme court order quashing the appointment of KTU VC,” he said.

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