21 Dec 2022 5:12 AM GMT
While the tussle between the centre and some state governments intensifies over the appointment of the Governor as the Chancellor of state universities, the Lok Sabha was informed on Monday that the appointment of any constitutional functionary to the leadership position was well within the purview of the state legislature. In a response to an unstarred question by...
While the tussle between the centre and some state governments intensifies over the appointment of the Governor as the Chancellor of state universities, the Lok Sabha was informed on Monday that the appointment of any constitutional functionary to the leadership position was well within the purview of the state legislature.
In a response to an unstarred question by Congress legislator Adoor Prakash, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Annapurna Devi clarified, "Governors are appointed as Chancellors in the State Universities as per the provisions mentioned in the respective University Act, which is enacted by the State Legislature. However, recently, in some States, some other Constitutional authority have been proposed as Chancellor, by bringing out legislative changes in the Act."
Earlier this month, after a protracted political confrontation spanning several weeks between the Left Democratic Front and the Kerala governor, Arif Mohammed Khan over the appointment of vice-chancellors to 14 state universities, the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government tabled University Laws (Amendment) Bills in the assembly to amend the statutes governing state universities and remove Khan as the chancellor of the universities.
The feud had its origins in a decision of the Supreme Court to set aside the appointment of Dr Rajashree M.S. as the vice-chancellor of the A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technological University in Kerala owing to the non-compliance with stipulations of the University Grants Commission, particularly a provision mandating that the search committee constituted to recommend the appointment of the vice-chancellor must furnish the names of three suitable candidates. Following this, Governor Khan asked for the resignations of 11 other vice-chancellors on the ground that the government had appointed them through the same process deemed unlawful by the top court.
Meanwhile, elsewhere as well, particularly in the states of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, the appointment of vice-chancellors continues to be a source of contention. In June, the West Bengal Assembly passed a law designating the chief minister as the chancellor of state universities, which was returned by the then governor, Jagdeep Dhankar, who had often locked horns with the state administration over a number of issues. In October, a bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, as he was then, observed that the Bengal government had usurped the powers of the governor while re-appointing Dr Sonali Chakravarti Banerjee as the vice-chancellor of Calcutta University.
In Tamil Nadu, similar bills were passed in April with the objective of abridging the powers of the governor in appointing vice-chancellors of 14 state universities. However, the bills have not yet received the approval of Governor R.N. Ravi, who has been accused by the state administration of obstructing this measure.