Kerala University Senate: Chancellor withdrawing nominations story

KOCHI: Withdrawal of nominations of Kerala University senate members by the Chancellor was based on prejudice and was arbitrary, the Kerala High Court held on Friday while quashing the Chancellor’s order. Governor Arif Mohammed Khan is the Chancellor of the university.
Through a 51-page judgment (2023/KER/18270), justice Sathish Ninan said the court cannot agree with the contention of the Chancellor that the nominees are his agents and have no independent right or discretion.
The court also held that the constitution of the search-cum-selection committee for appointing the vice chancellor by the Chancellor by including his nominee and that of the UGC, but not that of the senate, was not in accordance with law. The court quashed the Chancellor’s notification appointing the search-cum-selection committee and making his nominee the convenor of the committee.
It was contended by the senate members that the constitution of the search-cum-selection committee is not in accordance with the provisions of the Kerala University Act. When the senate did not name its nominee to the committee, the Chancellor had notified the committee without the senate’s nominee and had later withdrawn his nominations of the senate members.
Holding that the Chancellor’s order withdrawing the nominated members suffers from the vice of arbitrariness, the court said in the judgment, “The order of withdrawal of the nominated members is not for any alleged illegal act. While this Court is not to sit in judgment or appeal over the reasons for the withdrawal of nomination, it is evident that the order is not based on any reason, but was rather founded on prejudice. It was an unreasoned act, without regard to the facts and circumstances. All the above points to arbitrariness.”