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Mon. Dec 5th, 2022
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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine the Kerala HC decision to quash K Riji John’s appointment as vice-chancellor of Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (Kufos) but refused to stay the decision while asking the chancellor in governor Arif Mohd Khan to appoint an acting VC during the pendency of the case in the SC.
Appearing for petitioner K R John, advocate Jaideep Gupta told a bench of ChiefJustice D Y Chandrachud and Hima Kohli that since it was a university for fisheries, considered part of the agriculture field, it fell squarely within the state domain to appoint the vice-chancellor. Gupta was supported by the Kerala government through former attorney general K K Venugopal. Though the bench agreed to issue notice to petitioner K K Vijayan and G Sadasivan Nair, who had challenged John’s appointment, it steadfastly refused to stay the HC decision and even declined toorder status quo. When the petitioner’s counsel said it would cause difficulties in managing the affairs of Kufos, the bench said the chancellor would appoint an acting VC who would manage the affairs of the university till the SC took a final decision on the controversy. It posted the matter for further hearing after three weeks.
The high court had on November 14 quashed the appointment after finding that John was appointed from a single-name panel, and not a panel of names as required to be recommended under the UGC regulations.

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