Days after Chief Minister M K Stalin met Governor R N Ravi, Raj Bhavan on Tuesday withdrew notifications in connection with appointment of vice-chancellors to three state-run varsities. Ravi's move, the first after the meeting between Stalin and him following a recent suggestion of the Supreme Court to resolve their differences, came with a rider.
Raj Bhavan said it is "confident" that the state government too would withdraw its notifications and reissue them in line with UGC regulations and the judgments of the apex court and high courts. Though the outcome of the governor's withdrawal of notification is anyone's guess, it is the first sign of the possibility of a thaw in strained ties between Raj Bhavan and the DMK government.
Riff between state govt and governor
The tussle between the state government and Governor Ravi over several issues, including pending bills, policy matters and premature release of prisoners, is well known. As the chancellor of state varsities, the governor issued three notifications on September 6, 2023, constituting search committees to identify suitable candidates for appointment as vice-chancellors for Bharathiar University, The Tamil Nadu Teachers Education University and the University of Madras.
Referring to the state government's gazette notifications on the same subject, Raj Bhavan, in an official release here said these were not in accordance with the University Grants Commission's regulations.
Citing the Madras High Court's judgment in V Palaniappa Vs Secretary to Chancellor, Puducherry Technological University and others (Dec-2023), Raj Bhavan said the verdict mandates that relevant statutory provisions should conform to UGC Regulations 2018. In view of this "clear enunciation of the law", the governor is confident that in deference to constitutional proprietary and legality, the "Government of Tamil Nadu would withdraw its notifications".
Raj Bhavan said the governor is optimistic that the state government would issue notifications afresh conforming to UGC norms, in line with the judgments of the Supreme Court and the high courts. The purpose of the new notification proposed by Raj Bhavan, to be issued by the state government, is to constitute search committees for "recommending panels of three persons to the chancellor, for appointment to the post of vice-chancellors".
Also, the governor said he was confident that the state would align the norms governing various government-run varsities to the regulations of the UGC, "as applicable". Raj Bhavan said the governor "awaits appropriate action from the Government of Tamil Nadu at the earliest in this regard to ensure that the cause of higher education and the future of several hundred thousand students in the state are not adversely affected".