Kerala

Governor warns of drastic actions to cleanse higher education sector

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has warned of “drastic actions” to address the “rot that has set in the higher education sector” if the government chose to let him resume his duties as the Chancellor of State universities. He was interacting with media persons upon his arrival here from New Delhi on Monday.

While hinting that the controversy edged towards rapprochement, the Governor also sounded a note of caution as he pledged to return as a “different Chancellor” while taking up the reins of the sector again.

Revealing that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had written to him thrice since the row erupted, Mr. Khan said there was no reason for him to spurn the reconciliation bid. “However, they must understand the consequences. I will be on a course-correction mission from Day One. Being the appointing authority, it is also my responsibility to discipline them (universities). It (his actions) might cause a lot of upset,” he said.

A couple of days after Kerala University Vice Chancellor V.P. Mahadevan Pillai’s letter to him emerged in the public domain, Mr. Khan opened up on their exchanges that ultimately triggered the stand-off.

According to him, it had all began when he conveyed the grievances of several alumni of Kerala University on the alleged suspension of convocations for outgoing batches. While the Vice Chancellor returned to him with a plan to organise a convocation, the Governor presented a proposal to invite President Ram Nath Kovind to lead the ceremony and to receive an honorary doctorate on the occasion.

Mr. Khan claimed to have floated the proposal despite the Rashtrapati Bhavan adhering to a policy against accepting honours from universities. “I was confident that I could convince the President, considering that the university is one of the oldest in the country,” Mr. Khan said.

The Governor, however, received an “obnoxious” response from the Vice Chancellor who had informed him that certain people were not in favour of calling a Syndicate meeting to discuss the proposal. Mr. Khan accused Prof. Pillai of misbehaviour by defying the directions issued by the Chancellor.

AG’s conduct

Mr. Khan hinted at the possibility of action against Advocate General (AG) K. Gopalakrishna Kurup whom he accused of misleading him in the reappointment of the Kannur University Vice Chancellor. He alleged that the AG had refused to appear for him at the Kerala High Court in a case pertaining to the appointment since “he feared his own opinion could be indefensible”.

Dismissing allegations of Vice Presidential aspirations, the Governor said it was unfair to find motives for his actions. He added that he would not hesitate to seek clarification from the government on the SilverLine project if he received representations on the issue.

Saying that the Governor’s comments were serious, Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala urged him to reveal the names of the persons who opposed the proposal to confer DLitt on the President.


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Printable version | Sep 15, 2022 10:07:25 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/governor-warns-of-drastic-actions-to-cleanse-higher-education-sector/article38220052.ece