This is the fourth Bill that the TN government has tabled in the current Assembly session concerning the appointment of V-Cs in state-run universities under various departments.

MK Stalin in Assembly@CMOTAMILNADU /TWITTER
news Legislature Monday, May 09, 2022 - 18:03

In what can be called its latest attempt to clip the powers of the Governor, the Tamil nadu government on Monday, May 9, tabled a Bill in Assembly that empowers itself to appoint the Vice-Chancellor of Tamil nadu Dr MGR Medical University. Previously, the state had adopted a Bill for empowering the state government to appoint Vice-Chancellors to 13 universities in Tamil Nadu. With this Bill, the Governor — who is the Chancellor of the universities — will no longer be the one to appoint the Vice-Chancellors (V-Cs).

This is the fourth Bill that the state government has tabled in the current Assembly session concerning the appointment of V-Cs in state-run universities under various departments. Three Bills were earlier tabled for appointment of V-Cs to 13 state-run universities and for the posting of V-C of the Dr Ambedkar Law University under the Law Department.

While tabling the Bill regarding the 13 universities, Chief Minister MK Stalin said, “While it has been the practice that the Governor consults with the democratically elected (government) on appointing V-Cs, that has been changing in recent times, especially the past four years. The Governor has been acting as if he has a special power in appointing V-Cs. This habit of not respecting the government, which has the job of providing higher education, can be seen.”

CM Stalin also said that it was an issue concerning the rights of the state government, of the university educational rights, and of the rights of the government elected by the people, and cited recommendations of the Justice Punchhi commission in the appointment of Vice-Chancellors. The Commission was constituted by the Government of India in 2007 to analyse the Union government-state relations, chaired by Justice Madan Mohan Punchhi, had recommended that “the Governor should not be vested with the rights to appoint V-Cs, which has not been provided by the Constitution,” citing that there would be “clash of functions and powers.”

Read: Tamil Nadu passes Bill to take over Governor's power to appoint University V-Cs

The passing of the Bill in Assembly came amid a standoff between the ruling DMK and Governor RN Ravi, over the anti-NEET Bill not being passed by the latter. The anti-NEET bill was returned by the Governor to the government on February 1, 2022 for reconsideration. However, on May 4, CM Stalin told the Assembly that the Bill has been forwarded to President Ram Nath Kovind for the second time. The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said that he has been informed by the Governor's secretary that the Bill has been sent to the Union Home Ministry.

Read: Tamil Nadu NEET Bill forwarded to President, MK Stalin tells Assembly

It is also to be noted that the DMK party had, earlier this year, demanded the resignation of the Governor. "If the Governor cannot work according to the Constitution, he should resign," DMK leader TR Baalu said at a press meet on January 5, after the anti-NEET Bill was not forwarded to the President by the Governor. However, this is not the first time DMK had put forth such a demand. Party stalwart CN Annadurai has once stated that the governor post in itself was not needed and compared it to the “uselessness of a beard to a goat”.

(With IANS inputs)

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