Famed chef Lakshmi Nair finds infamy in alternative career as law college principal

The demand by all the protesting groups is the same: Remove Lakshmi Nair as the Principal of the college which will turn 50 next year.

Published: 30th January 2017 11:54 PM  |   Last Updated: 31st January 2017 10:32 AM   |  A+A-

Lekshmi Nair. (Photo courtesy: Facebook)

Lakshmi Nair. (Photo courtesy: Facebook)

By Express News Service

KOCHI: Though one of the finest celebrity chefs in the state who would cook any variety of dishes and present it with a smile, the last three weeks were tough for Lakshmi Nair in her other role as a Principal which she was handling for some eight years. The pan Kerala strike against the harassment of students at the Self-financing colleges in the state following the death of an engineering student at  Thrissur suddenly turned against her and her institution Kerala Law Academy Law College, (KLALC). The demand by all the protesting groups is the same: remove Lakshmi Nair as the Principal of the college which will turn 50 next year.

She joined the KLALC as a Guest lecturer in History in 1988 and in Law two years later.  She became a full-time lecturer in 1994 and became Professor in 2007. She did her LLB, LLM and PhD from KLALC. She is a second rank holder of the Kerala University in B.A  History and a first rank Holder in LLM from the same University.  A familiar figure in mini screen for three decades, Lakshmi Nair was a news reader with Doordarshan (Malayalam) from 1986 to 1988. A celebrity culinary expert as the host of the most popular cookery show “Magic Oven” as well as “Flavours of India”, in CPM-backed Malayalam Television Channel, ‘Kairali’,  with a high viewership rate among similar programmes. She was also a member of the Kerala State Film Censor Board since 2005.

KLALC shut down indefinitely after the joint strike, launched by student organisations against the management's denial of permission to hold a protest march in the campus, turned violent. Kerala State Human Rights Commission has registered suo motu case in connection with the student's protests and the SC/ST Commission and Youth Commission sought an explanation from college authorities over students' allegations of harassment by college authorities. On Monday, a non-bailable case has been slapped against her for allegedly harassing a student belonging to scheduled caste by addressing him by caste.

“This shows the level of suffering the students had to endure. They are frustrated as there is no transparency in the marks. Over the years, she has given internal marks to those students she liked and it decided their fate,” said Parvathi T, popular anchor, social activist and also a  former student of the  KLALC who could not complete her course, as the college claimed she had shortages in attendance in 2005.

As N Narayanan Nair, the director of KLALC, who is also the father of Lakshmi, is one of the power centres in state politics and the family is close to CPM, the party had to take a  cautious step backward from arriving at a hasty decision. The Education Minister's efforts to defuse the crisis failed as the students stick to their stand and demand of  Lakshmi Nair's resignation.  Meanwhile, Kerala University debarred Lakshmi Nair from all examination-related matters as a  sub-committee of the syndicate found that many of the allegations to be true. The list included installation of CCTV cameras at the college women's hostel intruding into the privacy of the students, the sole power to give internal marks with the principal. More internal marks were allotted to Lakshmi Nair's future daughter-in-law, who had only 50 percent attendance. The principal even refused to submit documents which committee sought as part of the probe. The audio clippings also substantiated charges against her.

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