Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Hindu
The Hindu
Krishnadas Rajagopal

Supreme Court quashes reappointment of Gopinath Ravindran as Kannur University Vice Chancellor

The Supreme Court on November 30 (Thursday) quashed the reappointment of Gopinath Ravindran as Vice-Chancellor of Kannur University.

Serving a blow to the Kerala government, a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, in a judgment, has set aside a decision of the Kerala High Court which had upheld the validity of a November 23, 2021 notification reappointing Mr. Ravindran.

The judgment, authored by Justice J.B. Pardiwala for the Bench, accused the Kerala government of “unwarranted interference” in the reappointment and the resultant abdication/surrender of his statutory powers by the Chancellor/Governor.

Kerala Students Union workers celebrating the Supreme Court decision setting aside the reappointment of Gopinath Ravindran as the Vice Chancellor of the Kannur University, on the varsity campus on November 30. (Source: C.P. Sajit)

The court said that though the November 2021 notification was issued in the Chancellor’s name, “the decision stood vitiated by the unwarranted interference by State government.”

Justice Pardiwala read out in court a press release issued by Raj Bhavan saying that the Chief Minister and the Higher Education Minister had kickstarted the reappointment process.

The Kerala High Court had upheld the reappointment, saying the process was done in compliance with the Kannur University Act, 1996.

The High Court had reasoned that the University Grants Commission (UGC) regulations and parameters were followed at the time of initial appointment. It had said the criterion of the age of the candidate was not applicable.

Gopinath Ravindran

The High Court decision had come in a quo warranto writ petition filed by Premachandran Keezhoth, member, Senate, Kannur University, and Shino P. Jose, member, Academic Council (Management Studies), Kannur University.

According to them, the reappointment was not based on the independent evaluation or consideration of the contributions of Mr. Ravindran and that the decision was taken on the State government’s request. Therefore, the reappointment had been in violation of the UGC regulations.

Accepts SC verdict, says Ravindran

Mr. Ravindran, meanwhile, said that he accepts the Supreme Court’s decision to set aside his reappointment.

Responding to the media in Kannur, he clarified that the reappointment was not made at his request and he refuted claims that it was for political gain.

Mr. Ravindran said that with the apex court cancelling the reappointment, there is no need for his resignation. He stated that he will not pursue a revision petition in this matter.

Returning to Delhi

Revealing that he had obtained a leave extension from Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University, Mr. Ravindran said he can “return to work” at his discretion and that he is planning to return to Delhi on Friday.

“There is no disappointment in the court verdict. I could do a lot of things. Many universities have a history of reappointment of VCs. This is not the first incident,” he said

He also asserted that age and reassignment are not any issues, denying any involvement in the earlier reappointment process. He also refuted claims that his reappointment was politically motivated.

KSU hails SC decision

Reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision, Kerala Students Union (KSU) State vice president P. Mohammad Shammas said it serves as a “blow to the arrogance of the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government.” He views it as a warning against questionable appointments.

Mr. Shammas praised the judicial system, stating that it has become the “last hope” for the survival of the higher education sector. He said he sees the court’s decision as a rejection of the reappointment initiated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

(with inputs from Kannur Bureau)

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.