Kerala CM pvt secretary’s wife’s appointment being re-scrutinised

The Kannur University syndicate on Tuesday directed the scrutiny committee to reassess the candidature of Priya Varghese, wife of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s secretary K.K. Ragesh, for the post of Associate Professor in the Malayalam department of the university, as directed by the Kerala High Court last month.

Varghese’s appointment was cleared by the syndicate early this year, but it ran into trouble when the second ranked candidate approached the high court, even as the chancellor and Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan had earlier cancelled the appointment as she lacked the necessary qualifications.

This appointment had created a huge furore in the state and with Khan taking a strong position, his relationship with Vijayan has gone for a toss with each losing no opportunity to take on the other.

After going through the petition of the second ranked candidate, the high court ruled that Varghese did not have the qualifications to be considered for the post.

The court said that the scrutiny committee failed to see that she did not have the required qualifications. All the UGC guidelines were flouted and the court cannot overlook it. It asked Kannur University to revisit the rank list and come out with a new one.

Ragesh is a former Rajya Sabha member of the CPI-M, who hails from Kannur.

An RTI query had earlier revealed that Varghese got the maximum marks (32 out of 50) in the personal interview, while the second-ranked candidate Jacob Skariah scored 30, but her research score was a mere 156, while Jacob secured 651. However, she was ranked first based on the personal interview.

Moreover the court ruled that she did not have the prescribed experience as a teacher and all the arguments which was put forward by Kannur University and Varghese were not sustainable as even the UGC had clearly pointed out that she lacked the necessary teaching experience.

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