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What are Kerala’s university laws (amendment) Bills?

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: State Legislature – Structure, organisation, functioning and conduct of business etc

 

Source: TH

 Direction: The article discusses the controversies surrounding the appointment of Chancellors and VCs at Kerala State Universities.

 Context: The Kerala government has passed the two University Laws (Amendment) Bills to amend laws relating to the governance of 14 State universities and to remove the Governor as the Chancellor of said universities.

Background: Governor vs Government

  • The Governor denied assent to the controversial Lok Ayukta (Amendment) Bill and University Laws (Amendment) Bill passed earlier by the State Assembly.
  • A Supreme Court order invalidated the Kerala Technological University VC’s appointment.
  • Henceforth, the Governor demanded the resignations of 11 other VCs claiming that they were appointed through the same procedure invalidated by the SC.

About the Bills:

  • Entrust the government to appoint eminent academicians as Chancellors of various universities, ending the Governor’s watchdog role in university administration.
  • Provide provisions to limit the term of the appointed chancellor to 5 years.

Need to amend the University laws:

  • The UGC guidelines (partially mandatory for State universities earlier) have been made legally binding for all universities by way of recent SC rulings.
  • An executive order issued by the Centre (UGC guidelines), undermines the Assembly’s powers under the Concurrent List of the Constitution.
  • The Punchhi Commission on Centre-­State Relations recommended not to entrust the Governor with powers that are not envisaged in the Constitution and which may lead to controversies.

Arguments against the Bill:

  • Give the State Government more leeway in appointing its own nominees as VCs.
  • It would result in the transfer of power over university administration from the Governor and the UGC to the State Government.
  • The State Government’s control over State universities will erode the autonomy they enjoy.

 

Insta Links:

This unseating of vice-chancellors is faulty

 

Mains Links:

Q. Whether the Supreme Court Judgement (July 2018) can settle the political tussle between the Lt. Governor and the elected government of Delhi? Examine. (UPSC 2018)