THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A section of academics has raised doubts over the implementation of a recent High Court order that quashed a 2017 notification of the University of Kerala for direct appointment of faculty members after applying reservation norms. The order, which would invalidate the appointment of 58 faculty members in the varsity, goes against the amendments carried out by the state legislature to the Kerala University Act, they point out.
It was in the wake of a big hue and cry over reservation norms being scuttled by the University of Kerala in direct recruitment to faculty positions, that the then UDF Government amended the varsity Act, in 2014. The amendment prescribed category-wise pooling of the posts of Professor, Associate Professor and Assistant Professor and applying communal rotation by treating all departments as one unit. Following the amendment to its Act, the University of Kerala issued an order in 2017 implementing the amended provisions. The notification for appointment to the faculty positions, which was later quashed by the High Court, was issued on the basis of this order.
While quaashing the notification, a single judge order held that clubbing the posts of Professors, Assistant Professors and Associate Professors of all the departments as one unit was bound to create 100% reservation of such posts.
R Jayaprakash, former syndicate member of the University of Kerala, who was instrumental in affecting the amendments to the KU Act, has raised doubts about the implementation of the court order. “The order is silent about the validity of the Kerala University Amendment Act of 2014 on the basis of which the varsity issued the order implementing the amendments and also brought out the notification for appointments. How is it possible to quash the notification without setting aside the said amendments to the Act?,” Jayaprakash asked. Meanwhile, petitions questioning the appointment of faculty positions after applying similar norms in the universities of Calicut, Kannur and Sanskrit University, are pending before the High Court.
Meanwhile, Adv George Poonthottam, counsel for the petitioners, maintained that the court has declared the amendments to the Kerala University Act as ‘unconstitutional.’ “The specific relief sought by the petitioners was for a declaration that Section 6(2) of the Kerala University Act is unconstitutional. When the court said the writ petition is allowed, it means that the prayer is granted and that the amendments have been nullified,” he added.