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Education & Literature

Kerala HC dismisses KUFOS V-C appointment citing UGC lack

The Hawk
November14/ 2022

Kochi (The Hawk): A.K. Riji John's appointment as vice chancellor of the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) was revoked by the Kerala High Court on Monday because he lacked the requirements outlined by the University Grants Commission.

John was chosen as the next V-C in December of last year following the recommendation of a three-person search committee.

Soon after, K.K. Vijayan, another candidate for the position, filed a complaint with the High Court disputing his appointment, alleging that all necessary requirements had been disregarded.

The Supreme Court invalidated the vice chancellor's appointment at the state capital city's A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technological University last month.

The search committee established to choose the V-C was deemed to have been improperly constituted by a bench of Justices M.R. Shah and C.T. Ravikumar, and only one name, rather than the list of candidates required by UGC regulations, was forwarded to the Governor.

Khan took note of it and requested John and the vice chancellors of 10 different universities to explain why they should not be subject to punishment.

After the 10 Vice Chancellors addressed the High Court, it instructed Khan not to act until the Vice Chancellors' petition challenging the show cause notice was resolved. The case is now scheduled for November 17.

However, as a result of the division bench's decision to dismiss a plea brought by the chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, John will now be forced to resign.

Khan is overjoyed by Monday's decision because he has always been critical of Vijayan's management style.

Vijayan claimed in his appeal that the search committee lacked an academic expert and had picked nine candidates out of 17 after reviewing them all. On the list, John came in eighth. Only John's name was on the referral it sent to Khan.

The division bench dismissed John and ordered the creation of a new search committee and a new advertising requesting suitable candidates, basing its decision on the highest court's mandate from last month.

(Inputs from Agencies)