The Kerala cabinet Tuesday gave its consent to a Bill aimed at giving an upper hand to the government in the selection of vice chancellors of state universities. The Bill will be introduced in the next Assembly session.
The move came in the wake of recurring incidents of tussle between the CPI(M)-led government and Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, who is the chancellor of all the Universities, over appointment of VCs in various Universities.
Recently, Khan had openly said that he was under political pressure to re-appoint Professor Gopinath Ravindran as the VC of Kannur University even after the Raj Bhavan had notified a search committee to look for a new VC.
As per the clauses in the Bill, the number of members in the search committees will be increased from the existing three to five. As per the existing norm, the three-member committee has a nominee each of the Governor, UGC and the University for which a VC is being searched.
As per the proposed Bill, in the five-member committee, the state government will have two nominees. One of the state nominees will be the vice-chairman of the state Higher Education Council. The proposed composition will help the government gain an upper hand in the five-member search committee with support from the nominee of the University.
Former Opposition leader and Congress legislator Ramesh Chennithala said the government has a hidden agenda behind the proposed Bill. “CPI(M) wants to bring all Universities under the party’s control. This will kill the autonomy of the Universities in the state. Already, the syndicates and senates of the Universities are controlled by the CPI(M), which is keen to illegally nominate relatives of party leaders in universities. The Bill should be withdrawn,” he said.