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Uncertainty over search process for Malayalam university V-C

Governor unlikely to respond favourably to govt. letter to nominate a member to the search committee. Raj Bhavan had commenced measures for selection in 2022 itself.

January 22, 2023 09:09 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:05 am IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan is yet to study the government’s letter to nominate a member to the search-cum-selection committee to identify the next Vice-Chancellor for the Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University.

While the file is yet to be forwarded to the Governor, he is highly unlikely to respond favourably to the government’s ‘diktat’ since it is allegedly intended to infringe upon the Chancellor’s powers. That the government initiated the selection process to allegedly thwart preparatory steps made by Raj Bhavan to choose the next V-C of the university could also earn the ire of the Governor, sources said.

The sources claimed that Raj Bhavan had formally communicated to the Registrar of the Malayalam University late last year to commence measures for the selection process. While the university was asked to nominate its representative, the University Grants Commission (UGC) was also requested to follow suit. The proposed three-member search committee would also have a nominee of the Chancellor.

More leverage for govt.

However, the government’s strategic manoeuvre has put paid to such efforts. In a move that defied convention, the Higher Education department has stated its intention to initiate the process and also constitute a five-member selection committee that also includes nominees of the government and the Kerala State Higher Education Council. The composition is bound to provide the State government greater leverage in the process.

While the move has apparently exploited loopholes in the UGC regulations of 2018 that does not make any mention of the composition of the panel, it would violate the Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University Act, 2013, which stipulated a search committee ‘comprising the nominees of the Chancellor, government, and the UGC to appoint the Vice Chancellor.’

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