TRIVANDRUM: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, acting as the chancellor of universities in the state, on Wednesday notified appointment of one of the professors of Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) as its interim Vice Chancellor.
Khan ordered that till a regular VC was appointed, Dr M Rosalind George, professor and Dean of Faculty of Fisheries Science in KUFOS, would also exercise the powers and perform the duties of VC with immediate effect, till further orders.
The decision comes in the wake of the Kerala High Court on November 14 quashing the appointment of Dr K Riji John as the VC of KUFOS on the ground that he was appointed in violation of University Grants Commission (UGC) norms.
The court quashed the 2020 notification issued by the Governor appointing the selection committee, its 2021 resolution recommending only one name and 2021 order of the chancellor appointing John as VC for a period of five years or till he attains the age of 65, whichever is earlier.
The Bench also directed the chancellor to constitute a selection committee for recommendation of a panel of names in accordance with the UGC regulations at the earliest.
The High Court order had come on the pleas, moved by the applicants who participated in the selection process to the post of VC of KUFOS, challenging the appointment of John.
Khan had sought resignation of the 11 VCs, including that of KUFOS, based on a Supreme Court order which, while quashing appointment of the VC of of APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, had said that according to the UGC, a list of three suitable candidates has to be given to the chancellor.
The apex court had also said a non-academician should not be part of the selection committee as per UGC regulations.
According to Khan, the regulations were violated in the appointment of the 11 VCs and he, subsequently, sent them show-cause notices asking why they should be allowed to continue in their posts in view of the apex court decision.
The ruling Left government in Kerala and Khan have been at loggerheads over the issue of functioning of universities and his recent move seeking removal of the 11 VCs.
Earlier in the day, the Governor said the ordinance issued by the government seeking to remove him as the chancellor of universities is “infructuous” now as the state assembly has been summoned.