Kerala Assembly passes Bill removing Guv as Chancellor, but its fate uncertain

On expected lines, the Kerala Assembly on Tuesday passed the University Laws (Amendment) Bill which removes the Governor as the Chancellor of 14 universities in the state.

Even though the bill has been passed, it, according to the rules, has to be sent to Governor Arif Mohammed Khan for his assent.

Khan had earlier hinted that he will not stand in judgment of a case involving him and hence, in all likelihood, if he doesn’t sign, either it might lie pending in his office, and if not, it would be sent to the President.

At the end of the debate before the Bill was put for voting, the Opposition walked out of the house after the government stood its ground of having the Speaker in a three member panel to select the next Chancellor instead of a retired High Court judge. The Chief Minister, and the Leader of Opposition will be the other two members.

As per the Bill that has now been passed, eminent academicians would be appointed as Chancellors instead of the Governor.

Incidentally since August, ever since Khan put his foot down to clearing the appointment of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s private secretary’s wife on a teaching post in the Kannur University, the relation between Vijayan and Khan has gone from bad to worse and with this Bill, it will exacerbate.

The present session of the Assembly was called specifically to pass this Bill among other Bills, after Khan refused to sign an Ordinance on the same topic.

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