Vice Chancellors (VCs) of nine universities in Kerala were asked to resign from their posts by Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, acting as the Chancellor of Universities in the state, based on a Supreme Court decision quashing the appointment of the VC of APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University on the ground that it was in violation of UGC norms. Khan’s move kicked up a political storm in the state with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday issuing a stern warning to the Constitutional head asking him not to cross the limits of his powers and the ruling LDF announcing a two-day state-wide protest beginning on Tuesday.
Amidst the growing criticism of his decision and the VCs not tendering their resignations by 11.30 AM on Monday, the Chancellor issued show-cause notices to them seeking their responses by November 3. At the same time, he also said that some of the VCs have a good track record and clarified that his decision was based on the apex court ruling.
Resignations of the nine VCs were sought as some of them were appointed from a list of a single name and in others, the Chief Secretary of the state was a member of the selection committee, both being a violation of UGC norms according to Khan. Dr V P Mahadevan Pillai was the VC of Kerala University when his resignation was called for just days before his tenure was going to end.
Read | Kerala HC Allows Eight University VCs in State to Continue
Prior to being appointed as VC of Kerala University, Pillai was the Professor and Head of Department of Optoelectronics at the Central University of Kerala and before that he was a Lecturer in the Department of Physics of St. Gregorios College in Kottarakara from 1982 to 2001. He completed his Ph.D in Physics from Kerala University in 1996.
After Pillai’s tenure ended on Monday, the Raj Bhavan tweeted that Khan as Chancellor has ordered that Dr Mohanan Kunnumnal, the VC of Kerala University of Health Science, will also exercise powers and perform duties of VC of University of Kerala from Tuesday. Dr Sabu Thomas, the VC of Mahatma Gandhi University, was a Professor of Polymer Science and Engineering in the School of Chemical Sciences and also the Founder-Director of the International and Inter-University Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.
He has a Ph.D (Engineering) from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and before beginning his long academic career at MG University in 1987, had worked with Bata India Ltd and Bayer India Ltd for brief periods. Dr K N Madhusoodanan is the 14th Vice-Chancellor of Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) and he took charge in April 2019.
He has more than 20 years of experience in teaching and research. He had served as Head, Department of Instrumentation, CUSAT, Member of Academic Council, CUSAT and as Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, MG University, Kottayam, according to the CUSAT website. Dr K Riji John was appointed VC of Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) in September 2020.
He completed his M.FSc from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore in 1988, according to the KUFOS website which also said that he got his PhD from the Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling in the UK on Fish Virology in 1997 under the Commonwealth Scholarship. He began his academic career in 1990 as an Assistant Professor in the Fisheries College and Research Institute, Thoothukudi under the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Science University, it said.
Dr Gopinath Ravindran, the VC of Kannur University, was earlier in the news over his re-appointment to the post after his tenure ended last year and the issue had reached the Kerala High Court which had upheld the re-appointment. Ravindran taught Modern Indian Economic History in the Department of History and Culture at Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi before coming to Kannur University and is an alumnus of the St Stephens College and Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi and the London School of Economics in the UK.
Dr M S Rajasree was the VC of APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University whose appointment was quashed by the apex court citing violation of norms of the University Grants Commission (UGC). It was armed with this order of the top court that Khan had proceeded to seek the resignation of eight other VCs of universities in the state.
Meanwhile, Raj Bhavan sources had said that the state government had accepted the top court decision regarding Rajasree and had also recommended a replacement in a letter sent to the Chancellor. Prior to being appointed as VC of APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University in 2019, Rajasree was the Principal of Government Engineering College at Barton Hill here.
She is an alumni of Indian Institute of Technology, Madras from where she did her M.Tech and PhD in Computer Science and Engineering. Dr M V Narayanan was appointed as VC of Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit in March 2022.
He was the Professor and Head of English Department in the Calicut University before being appointed as VC and has a teaching experience of 32 years. Dr M K Jayaraj was the Dean of Faculty of Environmental Studies and the Head of the Physics department at CUSAT before being appointed as the VC of Calicut University in July 2020.
Jayaraj completed his BSc and MSc from Calicut and Cochin Universities, respectively. He got his PhD from Cochin University.
Dr V Anil Kumar was appointed as the VC of Thunchathezhuthachan Malayalam University in 2018. Anil Kumar was a Professor and head of the department in the department of Malayalam, Calicut University, was also a member of the advisory committee of Kendra Sahithya Academy and part of the board of studies of various Universities in India, according to Thunchathezhuthachan Malayalam University website.
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