The Kerala High Court on Thursday approved a petition against the proposed appointment of the wife of Prime Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s private secretary as an associate professor of Malayalam at Kannur University. The court said Dr Priya Varghese does not have the necessary teaching experience, which is one of the main criteria for the position.
The high court ordered the varsity to review the ranking, according to which Varghese was appointed in the Malayalam department. It also asked the university if it was eligible to be listed. Justice Devan Ramachandran said the candidate did not have the relevant period of actual teaching experience as stipulated in the 2018 University Grants Commission (UGC) regulations.
“Educational experience can only be a real fact and not fiction or inference. It must be real and cannot be interpreted or inferred,” the court said, noting that some of the different periods of teaching experience used by Dr.
Dr. Priya Varghese is the wife of Prime Minister Private Secretary and former MP KK Ragesh. In response to the court order, she said, “I accept the court order. I will consult with the lawyers.”
The opposition BJP, meanwhile, welcomed the HC’s order with state minister V Muraleedharan, which said that Varghese was “underqualified” to be a professor in the first place, and the court order affirmed the Kerala governor’s decision, Arif Mohammed Khan, to freeze her nomination. He continued. this exposed Vijayan’s attempt to promote nepotism in state educational institutions.
The former state BJP president tweeted: “Welcome, Kerala Supreme Court order declaring that Priya Varghese is ‘underqualified’ as an associate professor. Order Expresses Hon’ble @KeralaGovernor’s Decision to Freeze Her Appointment Exposing @pinarayivijayan’s Effort to Promote Nepotism and Sabotage Kerala Universities”.
Welcome Hon’ble Kerala High Court’s order declaring – Priya Varghese ‘underqualified’ to be an associate professor. Order confirmed Hon’ble @Governor of Keralathe decision to freeze her appointment
Exposed @pinarayivijayan‘s attempt to promote nepotism and sabotage Kerala’s universities
— V Muraleedharan / വി മുരളീധരൻ (@VMBJP) November 17, 2022
The order came on a plea filed by Joseph Skaria, who was second only to Varghese on the university grade list. Varghese had been proposed to be appointed by the varsity as an associate professor in the Malayalam department, which caused a huge political uproar as she had the lowest examination score but the highest in the interview round and was voted first in the selection process.
Khan, in his capacity as chancellor of universities in the state, had postponed her appointment, claiming that Kannur University’s decision to appoint her was “political”.
Background: The governor of Kerala is at odds with the LDF-led government
Locked in a bitter struggle with the LDF-led government, the governor had said that the state government should respect its boundaries that it was not its job to run universities, and that that job was entrusted to the governor as ex-officio chancellor. He said he will not interfere in the affairs of the state government unless there is a total collapse of the constitutional machinery and “fortunately” that was not the case in Kerala.
Khan is at odds with the ruling front over the nomination process for vice-chancellors at universities in the state. “All over India you have the constitution and the constitutional convention that are respected…”
Regarding allegations in certain circles that the governor was carrying out the RSS agenda, Khan said: “Give me one name, just one case where I have appointed someone who belongs to organizations that you find politically inconvenient, RSS, BJP … I will resign.”
Recent court rulings seem to justify the position of the governor, who recently said in an interview that this could not be called his ‘position’ as such, but statements that gave hope that the glory of universities could be restored.
“I will not state my position. There’s nothing personal in it. In light of the verdict of the Honorable Supreme Court, the verdict of the Supreme Court of Kerala… has upheld the law, upheld the constitution. This has given hope that the glory of universities can be restored,” he said MOT.
Last month, the Supreme Court overturned the appointment of Vice Chancellor of APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University in Thiruvananthapuram, saying it was bad under the law and contrary to UGC regulations.
On 14 November, the Kerala HC overturned the appointment of the VC of Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS), citing that it violated UGC standards.
These orders, which more or less justify Khan’s move to seek the dismissal of 11 VCs in the state over the offence, are a blow to the left-wing government that has opposed him on the matter. Khan has also claimed that educational institutions in the state had become party goods. The LDF, in a show of force, had mobilized its supporters en masse and marched towards the Raj Bhavan in the capital.
(with PTI inputs)
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