HC to Governor on Kerala Univ. Senate: Don’t Make Fresh Nominations

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday ordered the chancellor of the Kerala University not to make any fresh nominations in place of the Senate members who were removed as the chancellor withdrew his pleasure. Governor Arif Mohammad Khan is the chancellor of the university.
Justice Murali Purushothaman issued the directive after considering three petitions (WP-C Nos. 33664, 33677, and 33701/22) challenging the order issued by the chancellor on October 15th. The petitions were filed by ‘other members’ nominated by the chancellor and ‘ex-officio members’ nominated under section 17 of the Kerala University Act, 1974.
In the order issued on Friday, the court said, “The question as to whether the action of the Chancellor in withdrawing the pleasure and withdrawing nominations is valid or not is a matter to be examined in the writ petitions. Therefore, post the writ petitions for further consideration on 31.10.2022. The learned senior counsel appearing for the Chancellor submits that the materials, on the basis of which Ext.P14 (the chancellor’s order) was passed will be placed on record by the said date. Till such time, there will be a direction to the 1st respondent Chancellor not to make any fresh nominations in place of the petitioners.”
It was contended by the petitioners that the high court can examine the reasonableness of the chancellor’s action and can intervene if such action is illegal, arbitrary, or capricious. No reason has been stated by the chancellor while exercising his powers and those affected were not heard, the petitioners argued.
Senior advocate K Jaju Babu, who represented the chancellor, submitted that the senate members were nominated by the chancellor and that the chancellor has the power to withdraw his pleasure without stating the reason for doing so as per section 18(3) of the Act. An interim order was issued by the court after considering these rival submissions.