The Kerala High Court on Wednesday, December 15 dismissed a plea challenging the reappointment of Kannur University Vice Chancellor Gopinath Ravindran. This comes as a relief for Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who came under fire from several quarters amid the row, including Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, who is the Chancellor of the university. Khan, who after signing the reappointment had later backtracked, said that his 'hands were tied and now he regrets the decision'. He even went public stating that he no longer desires to continue as the Chancellor.
The petition was filed by Kannur University senate member K Premachandran and another person, Shino Jose. After the verdict, the petitioners said they will approach the division bench of the High Court very soon.
The High Courtâ€™s decision comes at a time when the Congress and the BJP have demanded the resignation of State Higher Education Minister R Bindhu who purportedly wrote to Governor Arif Mohammed Khan seeking the reappointment of Ravindran as Vice Chancellor. In the letter, the minister allegedly said Ravindran's continuation would immensely benefit Kannur University and Section 10 (10) of Kannur University Act provides for the re-appointment of an incumbent Vice-Chancellor for a second term and does not stipulate any restriction on age. Ravindran, reacting to the news, said that reappointments happen and "this was nothing new...it happened in several universities and what happened now was nothing but politics."
Bindu's letter to the Governor came to the fore a day after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan claimed that universities in Kerala are headed by people who are well-versed in the field of education and that the Vice-Chancellors are appointed by search-cum-selection committees as per UGC norms.
Earlier, senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala alleged that R Bindu has â€śno authority to write a recommendation letter to the Governorâ€ť, adding that this was a clear case of corruption and nepotism. He also said that he would seek a Lokayukta investigation into the matter, and demanded that R Bindu resign from her post.