Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Tuesday (August 23) said he will not sign the Bills passed by the assembly if it goes against the spirit of the Constitution and decisions of the Supreme Court.
His statement came as the Kerala assembly is in session to pass around 11 Bills introduced by the state government after the ordinances got lapsed for want of Governor’s assent.
Responding to a query on a Bill to amend the universities powers that is reportedly meant to curtail the powers of the Governor as Chancellor, Khan said, “You think I will sign any law which goes against the spirit of the Supreme Courts decision? Certainly not.”
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“They can do whatever they like. Bill becomes a law only after it is signed by the Governor. I am just telling you I will not sign anything which goes against the Constitution, which strives to seek, erode the autonomy of the university, which opens the way for governmental interference in the university. It is not possible for me to sign any such thing,” Khan told reporters in New Delhi.
In an apparent reference to one of the reported provisions in the Bill, the Governor said the Supreme Court has made it clear to every university and all state governments that guidelines of the University Grants Commission (UGC) will be followed and one of the guidelines is that a person who is a member of the selection committee shall have nothing to do with the university or college under it.
“And here they are nominating the chairman of the higher education council whose job is to regularly interact with the university as the member of the selection committee,” Khan said.
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The Governor said Kannur University and the higher education sector in the state are in shambles and as long as he is there, he shall try his best to set the house in order.
Khan, in his capacity as Chancellor of universities in the state, had last week stayed the appointment of Priya Varghese, wife of Chief Minister’s private secretary K K Ragesh as a Malayalam Associate Professor in Kannur University and alleged nepotism in the varsity’s move.
Varghese had been proposed to be appointed as an associate professor in the Malayalam Department of the varsity which triggered a huge political row as she had the lowest research score but the highest in the interview round. She was declared first in the selection process.
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However, Higher Education Minister R Bindu had said that the state government was not involved in making appointments in the varsities and only the universities can do that and that too as per the regulations regarding the same.
(With inputs from agencies)