The unprecedented step to oust Vice-Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University A.V. George came as culmination of more than 18 months of controversies that had commenced even before his appointment.
The wrangling in the United Democratic Front (UDF) had resulted in the inordinate delay in the selection of a new Vice-Chancellor after the retirement of P.M. Rajan Gurukkal in November 2012.
But, when the post was ‘wrested’ by the Kerala Congress (M), the authorities had taken the unprecedented step of calling applications. In fact, even at that time, a case was filed against Dr. George by one Biju, but the case was rejected citing that the appointment had not been made.
The name of Dr. George was among the three-member panel suggested by the selection committee, but was objected to by one of the members.
Finally his name was declared on January 3 and he assumed office on January 5, 2013. Two weeks later, a complaint by T.K. Sajeev, Congress leader from Kaviyoor, against the veracity of his claims on qualification reached the Governor.
The Governor had forwarded the complaint to the government, which instituted an inquiry. Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor approached the Court maintaining that as per the nature of the complaints, they could not be investigated by the Chancellor, as the M.G. University Statute had specified so.
This was overruled by the High Court. The court maintained that the complaint of the VC could be placed before the Chancellor for consideration.
Based on this, the then Governor Nikhil Kumar had held a hearing, but he left office before any order could be issued. The incumbent Governor Sheila Dikshit reopened the case, but the Vice-Chancellor approached the Supreme Court with an appeal on his earlier judgment by the High Court, but received a setback.
The new initiative had seen a lot of political action with leaders of other UDF coalition members and social organisations interfering on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor to put an end to the controversy as it would create an unprecedented situation and would have even political fallout.