‘Unwarranted interference by State govt’, SC sets aside reappointment of Kannur Uni VC

'Chancellor, the Kerala Governor, abdicated or surrendered his powers', Court said

Supreme Court of India The Supreme Court | Arvind Jain

The Supreme Court on Thursday set aside reappointment of Kannur University Vice-Chancellor Gopinathan Ravindran, observing the state government’s intervention in the reappointment was unwarranted. 

Hearing the case on Thursday, a bench comprising of Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice J.B. Pardiwala, and Justice Manoj Misra observed that Kerala Governor, the Chancellor of the University surrendered his statutory powers for reappointment. Live Law reported that the SC quashed the reappointment, which was notified in November 2021, on the grounds of "unwarranted interference by the State Government". 

"Although the notification for reappointment was issued by the Chancellor, the decision stood vitiated by the unwarranted intervention of the State Government", the bench pronounced in their verdict. 

Pronouncing the verdict, Justice Pardiwala said they considered four questions as part of the case - Whether reappointment is permissible in a tenure post; Whether the upper age limit of 60 years as stipulated in Section 10(9) of the Kannur University Act is applicable even in the case of reappointment for four years; Whether reappointment has to follow the same process as the appointment of VC by setting up a selection panel; Did the Chancellor abdicate or surrender the statutory power of reappointment?

While the bench observed reappointment is permissible in a tenure post and age limit wouldn’t apply in case of reappointment, it admitted the appeal observing the Chancellor--the Kerala Governor-- “abdicated or surrendered the statutory power of reappointment, rendering the entire decision-making process bad", Live Law reported quoting verdict made by Justice Pardiwala.


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