Kerala varsity vice-chancellor’s appointment illegal: Supreme Court
In a setback to the ruling Left Democratic Front government in Kerala, the Supreme Court on Friday termed the appointment of Rajasree M S as the Vice Chancellor of the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, Thiruvananthapuram, “illegal” and “void from the beginning”.
In a setback to the ruling Left Democratic Front government in Kerala, the Supreme Court on Friday termed as “illegal” and “void from the beginning” the appointment of Rajasree M S as the Vice Chancellor of APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, Thiruvananthapuram.
The court was hearing an appeal filed by the former Dean of the Engineering Faculty of Cochin University of Science and Technology, Sreejit PS.
He had initially moved to the Kerala High Court, where his plea was rejected by a single bench and a division bench. While Sreejith claimed that the appointment does not comply with the UGC Regulations, 2010, the HC said that the UGC Regulations would not apply as the subsequent amendment to the Regulations made in June 2013 has not been expressly adopted by the State Government.
While setting aside the HC order, the SC, referring to its earlier decisions, said that the State Government adopted the UGC Regulations in October 2010 and “while assuming/accepting the UGC Regulations, it has been observed explicitly that … that all Universities shall incorporate the UGC Regulations. Within one month from the date of the said order, the Government shall take steps to amend their laws and regulations and the Acts of the Universities. Suppose the Regulations need to be enforced merely because the latter amendment has not been expressly adopted/accepted by the State. In that case, there cannot be a ground for the State to argue that the amendment to the Regulations is within the State/State and shall not be binding on the Universities… The appointment should always be of the Vice-Chancellor by the relevant provisions of the UGC Regulations as amended from time to time.
The decision stated that “by section 13(4) of the Universities Act, 2015, the (search) committee shall unanimously recommend a panel of not less than three suitable persons from amongst persons of eminence in the field of engineering sciences, who shall be the Chancellor / to be placed before the Vice-Chancellor. In the present case, the sole name of the Response No. 1 was recommended to the Chancellor. Also, per the UGC regulations, the Chancellor/Vice-Chancellor shall appoint the Vice-Chancellor from a panel of names recommended by the Search Committee.
Pointing out that the committee recommended the name of Rajshri only in the instant case, the bench said, “Therefore, when only one name was recommended, the Chancellor had no option to consider the names of other candidates.” Therefore, the appointment… can be said to be derogatory and contrary to the provisions of the UGC Regulations and the Universities Act, 2015.”