In another setback to CPI(M)-led Kerala government in the tussle with Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, the High Court on Tuesday dismissed its petition challenging the appointment of Dr Ciza Thomas as temporary V-C of A P J Abdul Kalam Technological University.
Thomas was made the temporary V-C by Khan earlier this month after the Supreme Court in October declared the appointment of then incumbent Dr M S Rajasree as illegal and void ab initio.
As the ruling CPI(M) had a running feud with Khan, Thomas’ appointment was greeted with protest by pro-Left employees at the university, while the government went to the High Court challenging the Governor’s selection. Khan had appointed Thomas over the names recommended by the government.
The bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran said Thomas has the required eligibility, in both teaching and research, stipulated by the UGC. The court observed: “Even when fingers could be pointed against the Chancellor (the Governor) in having relied upon the inputs of ‘some educationists’, his choice can never be found to be at fault, there is not even a whisper or an assertion by the government that the Chancellor has acted with bias or mala fide in having appointed her.’’
The government had argued that the appointment of Thomas, who has been a senior joint director with the Technical Education Department, as temporary V-C did not go by the Technological University Act. The government was of the view that only V-Cs or Pro V-Cs of other universities or an IAS officer in the rank of secretary could be appointed a temporary V-C.
Referring to apex court verdicts and UGC regulations, the court said the responsibility of the Chancellor to act in conformity to law is now far more.