Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan said on Wednesday that granting the state government the authority to appoint university vice-chancellors would amount to "executive interference."
The Governor's statement comes a day after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan called Mr. Khan's remarks on alleged nepotism in state university appointments "absurd."
Mr. Khan told the press this morning: "Underqualified and unqualified people, just because they are related to the personal staff of the Chief Minister, cannot be allowed to be appointed." A visibly enraged Governor stated that these institutions belong to the people of Kerala, not those in "little brief authority." If someone is qualified, they are most welcome, and there can be no objections to qualified people, according to Mr. Khan.
"The government cannot be given the power to appoint the vice-chancellors...I am saying it clearly...this will amount to executive interference." Mr. Khan said the Chief Minister had earlier written a letter to him in which he had assured that there would be no interference.
"And now they are proposing that they will appoint the Vice Chancellor. That would mean erosion of autonomy of the educational institutions. As long as I am here, I will not allow the erosion of autonomy of the universities," he said.
Asked about the Lok Ayukta (Amendment Bill), passed by the state Assembly recently, Mr. Khan said there is no question of any time limit and "everything would be considered on merit".
Noting that he was yet to see the file of the Lok Ayukta Bill, he said he had seen the assembly proceedings of the passing of the bill and the news reports in this regard.