HC upholds reappointment of Kannur University VC

Court says no need to constitute a selection committee

In a major relief to the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government, the Kerala High Court on Wednesday upheld the reappointment of Gopinath Ravindran as Vice Chancellor of Kannur University.

Dismissing a petition against his reappointment, Justice Amit Rawal observed that for reappointment as per Section 10 (10) of the Kannur University Act, 1996, there was no need to constitute a selection committee as was done during the initial appointment.

At the time of the initial appointment in 2017, all the parameters were considered for appointment as per the procedure laid down under the UGC regulations. Besides for reappointment, the criteria of age would not be applicable.

The quo warranto writ petition was filed by Premachandran Keezhoth, member, Senate, Kannur University, and Shino P. Jose, member, Academic Council (Management Studies), Kannur University.

According to them, the reappointment was not based on the independent evaluation or consideration of the contributions of Dr. Ravindran and that the decision was taken on the State government’s request. Therefore, the reappointment was in violation of the UGC regulations.

The State government contended that it was not a fresh appointment but a reappointment as per the provisions of Section 10 (10) of the Kannur University Act and, therefore, the procedure of constitution of the selection committee which was followed at the time of initial appointment in 2017 was not required to be followed for the continuation of the term.

The court rejected a plea by the petitioners to call for the records leading to the appointment of the Vice Chancellor, which were in the custody of the Chancellor, on the ground that the Chancellor had written a detailed letter to the Chief Minister covering so many unhealthy practices in academic appointments in the State, including the appointment of Kannur University Vice Chancellor.

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