To resolve spat with Kerala Governor, Pinarayi government may blink first

The submission of a single name as candidate for the vice-chancellor post in the university was the trigger for Governor Arif Mohammed Khan to go public with his outbursts.

Published: 14th December 2021 01:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th December 2021 05:32 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : With the ongoing governor-government standoff showing no sign of abating, efforts are being made at the highest level to resolve the immediate issue relating to the appointment of vice-chancellor in Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, as a first step towards rapprochement.

The submission of a single name as candidate for the vice-chancellor post in the university was the trigger for Governor Arif Mohammed Khan to go public with his outbursts over the alleged political interference by the government in university appointments.

The UGC regulations stipulate that “the selection for the post of vice-chancellor should be through proper identification of a panel of 3-5 persons by a search-cum-selection-committee.” Curiously, the search committee had given the name of only one person. Asked, the committee reportedly said the others shortlisted were not competent enough.

“There were seven applicants to the vice-chancellor post and the committee held detailed interaction with each one of them on December 6. The very next day, the committee submitted its report to the chancellor,” said a source privy to the developments.

“As per the Sanskrit University Act, if there is no scope for comparative ranking among applicants, one person can be selected, provided the choice is unanimous. Since the choice in this case was unanimous, only one name was submitted,” the source added.

Former governor Justice (Retd) P Sathasivam said if the governor is not satisfied with the single name provided, he can ask the search committee to submit a panel of names as laid down in the UGC regulations. 

“The governor can also reconstitute the search committee and start the selection process afresh,” Sathasivam told TNIE when his views were sought on the way forward. 

‘Unless Khan gets firm assurance, he is unlikely to budge’

Top government sources said they would try to convince the governor that the selection to the vice-chancellor post could be done afresh in the UGC-stipulated manner that he desires, involving a panel of names instead of a single name. But they are also sceptical if the governor would agree to any such suggestions for the time being.

Meanwhile, an official in the Raj Bhavan said the governor’s grouse was not confined to VC selection in Sanskrit University alone but also a host of recent issues including the controversial reappointment of Kannur University vice-chancellor, owing to political pressure.

“Unless the governor gets a firm assurance from the government on zero interference in university affairs in future, he is unlikely to budge from his strident stance,” the official said.

LDF launches political campaign against guv

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even as the chief minister openly expressed the willingness of the government to settle recent issues with Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, the LDF is gearing up to expose the agenda of the governor politically. 


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