Kerala government and Governor Arif Mohammed Khan oppose university autonomy


Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has criticized the government of Kerala for alleged political interference in the appointment of vice-chancellors of various state universities.

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has criticized the government of Kerala for alleged political interference in the appointment of vice-chancellors of state universities. (photo PTI)

Relations between the government of Kerala and Governor Arif Mohammed Khan deteriorated again as the latter criticized the alleged political interference in the appointment of vice-chancellors of state universities.

In a letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan urged him to change the laws that would make the CM the chancellor of all universities. He also expressed his dissatisfaction with the way things are going at universities in Kerala.

“Whatever the government’s response, I cannot stand and tolerate this political interference. If anything concrete comes out of it, I can change my position on the issue. For now, I have written to the CM for it. ask to change the law as it is not a constitutional position, ”said the governor.

Arif Mohammed Khan mentioned that he raised the issue with the government several times in the past, but his complaints were ignored. “I’m not interested in continuing to be the head of the university and letting autonomy erode under my nose. I had tried to resist political interference on many levels, ”he said.

The governor of Kerala highlighted the appointment of the vice-chancellor of Shankaracharya Sanskrit University, alleging that the search committee tried to limit his powers in the process.

“UGC regulations stipulate that there must be a panel of three people. The Chancellor will have the right to appoint one of them. The search committee says that of the seven people who applied, only one qualified. They say the other six aren’t even eligible to be considered. I asked them if that didn’t describe Kerala’s higher education system badly, ”the governor added.

The government has yet to respond to Governor Arif Mohammed Khan’s allegations.

This is not the first time that the government of Kerala and the governor have disagreed. In 2020, the state cabinet approved a draft governor’s speech for the budget session of the Kerala Legislature, in which the government explained its opposition to the Centre’s rulings on the Citizens Amendment Act (CAA), the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR).

At the time, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan had serious differences of opinion on the matter and the event characterized the government’s decision to bring a Supreme Court complaint against the CAA as “illegal.”

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