Kochi (VSK). Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has received an advice from the Raj Bhavan legal advisor to refer the controversial Chancellor bill to Rashtrapati (President). The bill was passed by the state legislative assembly on December 13, 2022. The Congress-led Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) boycotted the voting hence Bill was passed unanimously. Bill, once turns a law (when the Governor signs), will remove the Governor as the Chancellor of the 14 universities in the state.
Governor has not signed the bill so far. On the other hand, Governor had made it clear that he was not going to sign the bill since it is concerning his powers. He was not willing to sign a bill which affects him. Raj Bhavan’s legal advisor Adv. S. Gopakumaran Nair is reported to have advised the Governor not to take own decision in the case of a bill which affects him. Otherwise, ‘personal interest’ can be alleged later. A person who holds a Constitutional position should not take decision regarding a bill affecting his authority. Moreover, Education comes under Concurrent list of the Constitution hence state government cannot take a free decision.
The University Law (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2022 seeks to amend eight Acts relating to different universities to remove Governor as the ex-officio Chancellor of the universities and to empower the state government to appoint a Chancellor. According to the bill, “State government can appoint an academician of high repute or a person of eminence in any of the fields of the science including Agriculture and Veterinary Science, Technology, Medicine, Social Science, Humanities, Literature, Art, Culture, Law of Public Administration as the Chancellor of the university.
The bill is said to be the consequence of the Governor’s tough stand against nepotism in the university appointments, and other undesirable trends.
Naturally, Left Democratic Front (LDF) government led by CPM supremo Pinarayi Vijayan resolved to get rid of Arif Mohammed Khan as the Chancellor and leave the powers, to run the universities, with their ‘own men’.