Kerala Justice Minister P Rajeev hit back at Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Sunday after requesting the resignation of the vice chancellors of nine universities in the state. Neither the University Grants Commission (UGC) regulation nor the constitution says that the chancellor must be the governor, Mr Rajeev said.
Governor Khan pointed to the issue of the appointment of the VC to several universities in Kerala, but had said that the Supreme Court itself had made it clear that the appointment of vice chancellors was the responsibility of the governor.
In response to this, Mr Rajeev said, “Governor and Chancellor are two. Governor is a constitutional position. Chancellor is a statutory position. Chancellor is a position with only powers conferred by laws passed by the legislature. You can X or Y. Nowhere in India’s constitution does it state that the chancellor must be the governor.Nowhere in any regulation of the University Grants Commission (UGC) does it state that the chancellor must be the governor.”
The minister also responded to the governor’s statement drawing parallels between Punjab and Kerala, saying Kerala is replacing Punjab as the capital of drugs.
In a strong statement, Mr Rajeev said: “Some have declared war on Kerala. Who in a position of responsibility is doing that?”
“Kerala is a state where the rule of law prevails. In Kerala, the government is taking a very strong and uncompromising action against drug use,” he said.
“At the moment there are restrictions in the central laws and we demand that they be overcome. The state government is taking strong action against drugs. Many people are conspiring to defame Kerala. I am not sure if this is part of it. All responsible people should respond based on facts. Speeches and statements made while holding a position of responsibility should be based on facts,” Mr Rajeev said.
On Saturday, while criticizing Pinarayi Vijayan’s government for its drinking policy, the governor said the state is in the process of replacing Punjab as the “capital of drugs”. While everyone campaigned against the consumption of alcohol, the Kerala government encouraged it, he said.