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On the day Governor R N Ravi organized a two-day meeting of V-Cs of universities in state without inviting the concerned state minister or officials, the Tamil Nadu government hit back by passing legislation that gave itself the power to appoint V-Cs.
While passing the legislation, the government cited Gujarat that is ruled by the BJP. While PMK supported the bill, AIADMK and BJP opposed it.
Meanwhile, the two-day conference of V-Cs and representatives of universities in Tamil Nadu presided over by Governor Ravi started on Monday, April 25 at Raj Bhavan premises in Udhagamandalam. A Raj Bhavan press release said besides the governor and his principal secretary, K Pitchumani, V-C of Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, participated in the conference. Reports suggested that some 30 people attended the conference including MGR Medical University V-C Sudha Seshayyan. Raj Bhavan sources said most universities had sent their representatives to the conference.
Pitchumani had withdrawn Arundhati Roy’s book Walking With The Comrades from the syllabus of the English PG course following objections raised by the BJP students wing, ABVP.
Governor Ravi spoke about the achievements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in ushering in a new India. The governor recalled Modi’s government’s initiatives in food, housing, health, education, potable water and so on. He spoke in detail about the vision of the prime minister, setting the stage for the participants to come up with a vision and an action plan to achieve “India’s Role in emerging New World Order” and “India to be the World Leader by 2047.”
Many Bills passed by the state government, present and past, on universities and V-C appointments have been pending with the Governor for approval. It is likely this legislation will also be kept pending and the Governor will not sign it and make it a law
Meanwhile, the legislation passed in the Assembly gives state government the power to appoint Vice-Chancellors to Madras University, Madurai Kamaraj University, Anna University, Annamalai University, Bharathiyar University, Bharathidasan University, Alagappa University, Annai Theresa Women’s University, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Periyar University, Tamil Nadu Open University, Tiruvalluvar University, Tamil Nadu Teachers Education University.
In the present system, the Governor and the state government appoint V-Cs through a collaborate exercise of search committees and coming up with a panel of nominees. But the Governor can exercise veto powers and can eventually appoint someone the state government doesn’t want. Stalin cited the case of M K Surappa who was appointed by then Governor Purohit that the AIADMK government had a problem with. The appointment went against tradition since people from other states are not appointed V-Cs in any state university. He said the state government has responded to a query from the Center on its response to Punchhi committee report and said the report can be accepted fully.
In a reference to Governor Ravi, Stalin said in Assembly said that there is a tradition of Governors appointing V-Cs in consultation with the elected state government but the Governor is acting unanimously and without respecting the state government. He said the state government elected by the people has no powers to remove the V-Cs. He said an amendment was needed just as in Gujarat that is the home state of the prime minister whereby V-Cs will be appointed by the state government.
Stalin said the Governor has upended norms in appointing V-Cs. He has rejected the names suggested for the three-member search committee to select candidates for MGR Medical university V-C. He has extended the tenure of the Sudha Seshayyan until the end of December. He has angered the DMK government by asking the state government to start afresh the process of appointing the university’s V-C.
Many Bills passed by the state government, present and past, on universities and V-C appointments have been pending with the Governor for approval. It is likely this legislation will also be kept pending and the Governor will not sign on it and make it a law.
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