Governor Arif Mohammed Khan directs varsities to recover legal battle costs from VCs

Seven VCs had used Rs 1.13cr varsity funds to challenge chancellor’s order directing them to resign.
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed KhanPhoto | Express

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has directed universities to recover from the officers of the university the varsity funds spent for initiating legal proceedings against the Chancellor and the university concerned.

The direction would mainly apply to seven vice-chancellors who had utilised university funds totalling Rs 1.13 crore to legally challenge a 2022 directive that Khan issued in his capacity as Chancellor. Khan had directed the VCs to step down from office on the grounds that their selection to the post was not as per the UGC regulations.

As per the governor’s direction, the legal expenses incurred in connection with such litigation pending before courts were “not justifiable” and a “misuse” of university funds. He said that the if such payments have already been made, the amount should be recovered from the concerned officer on whose behalf they were made.

Details of the university funds spent were revealed through a reply given by Higher Education Minister R Bindu in the assembly recently. The Save University Campaign Committee, a whistleblowers’ collective in the higher education sector, had approached the governor pointing out the “illegality” in VCs spending varsity funds and demanded that the amount be recovered.

As per the data tabled in the assembly, the funds spent by the then VCs were as follows: Gopinath Ravindran (Kannur University) - Rs 69.25 lakh; Riji K John (Kufos) - Rs 35.71 lakh; M S Rajasree (KTU) - Rs 1.47 lakh; M K Jayaraj (Calicut) - Rs 4.25 lakh; K N Madhusoodhanan (Cusat) - Rs 77,500; V Anil Kumar (Malayalam University) - Rs 1 lakh and P M Mubarak Pasha (SNG Open University) - Rs 53,000.

The reply by the minister, had also revealed that around Rs eight lakh was spent by Kannur University for the case relating to the selection of Priya Varghese, wife of Chief Minister’s private secretary K K Ragesh, as associate professor in the varsity.

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