Monday, June 17, 2024

Kerala HC upholds appointment of CM Secy’s wife as Associate Prof

The Kerala High Court on Thursday ruled that the qualification of Priya Varghese, the wife of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s Private secretary K.K. Ragesh, is suitable for the post of Associate Professor in the Malayalam Department of Kannur University.

Last November, a single bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran while looking into the petition of second-ranked candidate Jacob Skariah, had ruled that Varghese lacked qualifications as prescribed by the UGC and her appointment needs to be

re-scrutinised.

This morning, a division bench cancelled the single-bench verdict coming as a setback for the Chancellor of State Universities- Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, who first stayed her appointment.

Ragesh is a former Rajya Sabha member of the CPI(M), who hails from Kannur and considered a close aide of Vijayan.

It was the second-ranked candidate Jacob Skariah who had approached the single-bench last year and reacting to the division bench order, he said he will now speak to his legal counsel’s and act accordingly and after going through the new verdict will consider moving the Supreme Court.

“This verdict now appears to be in violation of the UGC 2018 guidelines as it clearly states that the period of three years that she took to do her PhD cannot be counted as teaching experience, also her service, while acting as student director, also cannot be included as teaching experience,” said Skariah.

Incidentally, last year things surfaced when an RTI query revealed that Varghese got the maximum marks (32 out of 50) in the personal interview, while Skariah scored 30, but her research score was a mere 156, while the second-ranked candidate secured 651. However, she was ranked first based on the personal interview.

Meanwhile, Varghese expressed happiness with the verdict saying, “I was deeply pained by various media reports then but now I am happy that I have been proved right.”

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