In a huge setback to the Kerala state government and a major win for governor Arif Mohammed Khan, the Supreme Court quashed the re-appointment of Kannur Vice Chancellor Gopinath Ravindran. Supreme Court observed that the reappointment is invalid as it's against the UGC rules. Ravindran was re-appointed as Vice Chancellor of Kannur University for another four years in 2021. Official sources said the reappointment of Ravindran at the top of the university will be with effect from November 24.
What Apex Court said
“We have reached the conclusion that although the notification re-appointing the Respondent number 4 (Ravindran) to the post of vice chancellor was issued by the Chancellor (the governor), yet the decision to reappoint was influenced by extraneous considerations or to put it in other words, by the unwarranted intervention of the state government,” the bench, also comprising Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, said.
“The impugned judgement and the order passed by the high court dated February 23, 2022 is hereby set aside and as a consequence, the notification dated November 23, 2021 reappointing the respondent number 4 (Ravindran) as the vice chancellor of the Kannur University is hereby set aside,” the apex court said.
After the verdict, Ravindran on Thursday said, "I will not file a review petition...The resignation in light of the order had become irrelevant...The process occurred without my request and appeared to be free from errors. Many Vice-Chancellors in India have undergone similar reappointments. The first phase of VC status concluded in 2021, with the letter of reappointment arriving on the same day."
The reappointment of Ravindran came amid protest by Save University Campaign Committee (SUCC) against its decision to shortlist the wife of CPI(M) leader K K Ragesh for a teaching post. Ragesh, a former Rajya Sabha MP, is the private secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Sources said the Governor has sought a report from the Vice Chancellor on the allegations over Ragesh's wife's inclusion in the shortlisted candidates. SUCC also protested against the reappointment of Ravindran, claiming that as per norms of the University, a person more than 60 years of age shall not be appointed as Vice Chancellor.