He has written an article in support of Narendra Modi
B. Ashok, Vice-Chancellor of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU), is apparently under pressure to resign from the post.
In a note (No. 52313/PU-B1/2012/Fin) issued to him on June 7 after a finance inspection was conducted at the KVASU, the Principal Secretary (Finance) stated that “it would be appropriate for the current Vice-Chancellor to either cease to be a bureaucrat or vacate the post of Vice-Chancellor”.
The Cabinet had initiated a move to remove Dr. Ashok from the post for allegedly writing an article in support of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi attending the silver jubilee of the Sivagiri Madhom.
On May 22, the Cabinet directed the Chief Secretary to take follow-up measures in this regard. The Cabinet had approved the proposals in a note (file number 34312/ special A/1/2013/ General Administration Department) recommending to the Governor removal of the Vice-Chancellor for allegedly violating guidelines for writing articles (issued by the Governor), and Sections 3 (1) and 7 of the All-India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968.
Dr. Ashok had also written an article in a Malayalam journal that criticised ‘Nimisha Jalakam’, a collection of poems written by Principal Secretary (Finance) V.P. Joy.
Later, the Finance Department had stopped payment for the KVASU twice after carrying out inspections and making preliminary observations on sanctioned study leave for faculty and staff.
The developments triggered an agitation by a section of KVASU employees. The Chief Minister and the Finance Minister reportedly intervened and the payment was restored.
In the June 7 note, issued in response to an explanation filed by the Vice-Chancellor to a communication by the Finance Department, the Principal Secretary (Finance) wrote, “It is reported that the Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development has advised that politicians and bureaucrats should not overrule university on academic matters. As can be clearly seen, the above advice does not apply to inspections to ensure financial prudence. On the contrary, going by the above advice, it would be appropriate for the current Vice-Chancellor to either cease to be a bureaucrat or vacate the post of Vice-Chancellor.”
The note also stated that it was “inappropriate for the Vice-Chancellor to refer to himself in first person than in third person in a direct communication”.
“The title of ‘Dr’, which is used in the letterhead, may be qualified by indicating the professional qualification authorising the use of the same,” added the note.
The Principal Secretary (Finance) directed the Vice-Chancellor to close down the KVASU’s liaison office in Thiruvananthapuram.
“No university in Kerala has a liaison office in a place other than its headquarters except the newly started Malayalam University. It is unacceptable to argue that personal presence is a must for maintaining link with various government agencies because extension of this argument logically to other departments and organisations will result in a remote district like Wayanad having no government functionaries,” stated the note.
The board of management of the KVASU initiated steps on June 11 to close down the liaison office. When contacted, Dr. Ashok confirmed receipt of the note issued by the Principal Secretary (Finance).
He declined to comment stating that the matter had legal implications. The note was issued ahead of the third foundation day celebrations of the KVASU, to begin on June 14. Dr. Ashok was previously removed from the post in a move later termed by the High Court “illegal, arbitrary and capricious”. He was re-instated in August 2012.