india

T.N. intends to clip Governor’s powers to appoint VCs

We will adopt a resolution in next Assembly session, says Chief Minister

After Maharashtra and West Bengal sought to vest the government with more powers in the appointment of Vice-Chancellors to the State universities, the Tamil Nadu government is exploring options to empower itself to make the appointment instead of the Governor.

“During the Assembly session for presenting the Budget in March, we will certainly adopt a resolution unanimously [on the powers related to the appointment of Vice-Chancellors],” Chief Minister M K. Stalin told the House on Thursday.

Shortlist

At present, Vice-Chancellors are appointed by the Governor, in his capacity as the Chancellor of the State universities, from a shortlist of three names submitted by a search committee. Mr. Stalin’s statement came after certain remarks made by Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudi.

“As for the appointment of Vice-Chancellors, the Chief Minister is consulting legal experts [on amending the law]. In many States, the government holds the powers to appoint Vice-Chancellors,” Mr. Ponmudi said earlier. According to him, this was the case in Telangana.

The Minister was responding to concerns over the appointment of Vice-Chancellors raised by PMK floor leader G.K. Mani (Pennagaram) during a debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor for his address to the House.

In the appointment of Vice-Chancellors, “the role of the State government should be there,” Mr. Ponmudi contended, citing the case of Maharashtra which recently passed a legislation to vest more powers in the government.

Citing media reports, the Minister said that in West Bengal, the State government appointed Vice-Chancellors and the Governor objected to it. This was the case in Kerala, too, he said. (Kerala is only examining the happenings in West Bengal and Maharashtra, and has not taken any decision.)

“To put an end to all this, it would be better to create a situation wherein the State government could appoint the Vice-Chancellors. The Chief Minister is discussing with legal experts. A decision would be taken before the next Assembly session,” he said.

Seeking the attention of BJP floor leader Nainar Nagenthran (Tirunelveli), Mr. Ponmudi said that even in Gujarat, which was ruled by Narendra Modi before he became the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister held the powers to appoint Vice-Chancellors. “Even the Prime Minister knows. So you, too, please point out,” he said.

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