Kerala govt to bring Bill to remove Governor as Chancellor of universities

Kerala govt to bring Bill to remove Governor as Chancellor of universities

The Kerala government will introduce a Bill in the Assembly to divest the Governor of his role as Chancellor of universities, the latest move in their escalating tussle over varsity administration.

The Kerala Cabinet took this decision Wednesday after Governor Arif Mohammed Khan did not act on a government recommendation for an ordinance to this effect. The Assembly session begins next week.

A statement from the Chief Minister’s Office said the Cabinet ratified the draft of the Bill, which would amend laws to appoint eminent educationists as Chancellors.

Acts pertaining to the following varsities are proposed to be amended: University of Kerala, Mahatma Gandhi University, Calicut University, Kannur University, Shankaracharya Sanskrit University, CUSAT, Malayalam University, Kerala Digital University, Sree Narayana Guru Open University, Kerala Agricultural University, Kerala Veterinary Animal Science University, Kerala Fisheries & Ocean Studies, Kerala Health University and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam University.

As per the draft Bill, the government will have the power to remove a Chancellor from office based on an inquiry conducted by a former judge of the Supreme Court or High Court in case of serious allegations of misconduct. The draft will remove the section from the University Rules which make the Governor the ex-officio Chancellor of the 14 universities in Kerala, said the statement.

Earlier, the Cabinet decision to remove the Governor as Chancellor was taken after considering the recommendation of the M M Punchhi Commission on Centre-State relations. The Commission had said that a Governor holding the post of Chancellor should be avoided.

The government said that considering the importance given to the higher education sector, the state government has decided to appoint eminent persons, who uphold high academic values, as Chancellors of universities.