Setback For Pinarayi Vijayan Govt As SC Quashes Kannur V-C's Reappointment


(MENAFN- IANS) New Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 30 (IANS) In a major setback to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the Supreme Court on Thursday cancelled the reappointment of Kannur Vice-Chancellor Gopinath Ravindran.

The court's verdict was followed by the Opposition demanding the resignation of State Higher Education Minister R. Bindhu.

Reacting to the judgment, Ravindran said he is leaving for Delhi on Friday and will rejoin duty as professor of history at the Jamia Millia Islamia.

"The question of resignation doesn't arise as my appointment has been quashed. I got the reappointment letter in 2021 and I continued and now it has been quashed and hence I am leaving," he said.

Ravindran was reappointed in November 2021 following which two Kannur University officials first approached the High Court, which upheld the reappointment. The petitioners then moved the apex court.

The apex court judgment slammed the way the appointing authority ( Chancellor, who is also the Governor of the state Arif Mohammed Khan) came under duress from outside.

It contended that they have nothing in reappointment or about the age of the candidate, but the manner in which the appointing authority was pressurized from outside.

Incidentally, Khan had openly admitted that Vijayan had requested him to reappoint Ravindran as it's his ( Vijayan) home state and he was forced to do the same.

Bindhu, by virtue of being the Higher Education Minister, is also the Pro-Chancellor and Khan had then pointed out that he got her letter asking for reappointment of Ravindran.

Reacting to the development, Bindhu said she hasn't seen the verdict but will accept it as it comes from the highest judicial body.

Ravindran's reappointment got huge media attention as the wife of Vijayan's private secretary and former Rajya Sabha member K was ranked first in a teaching job at the Kannur University, despite not having the desired qualifications.

Demanding Bindhu's resignation, Leader of Opposition D said the verdict itself mentions that the appointing authority was under pressure from the government.

"We were sure of this outcome which has come as a slap on the Vijayan government's face. Bindhu has to quit as every rule has been violated for reasons known to all," said Satheesan.

Soon after the verdict, the security at Ravindran's residence was beefed up as for long the Congress student activists in the University were up in arms against him.

One of the petitioners K. Premachandran termed the verdict a "huge victory", saying everybody is aware of the manner in which appointments take place. "After the reappointment, numerous back door appointments had taken place. This verdict has upheld what we stood for," asserted Premachandran.

--IANS

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