Kerala row and beyond: Governor’s role in state, central universities

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What is the news?

Kerala Governor has written a letter to the Kerala Chief Minister expressing his desire to step down as Chancellor, alleging political interference in the universities. 

What is the role of Governor in State Universities?

The governor of the state is the ex-officio chancellor of the universities in that state. As the chancellor, he presides over the university convocation and also appoints the Vice-Chancellor.

But the Governor’s exact power as the Chancellor are laid out in the statutes that govern the universities under a particular state government.

For example: In Kerala, the Governor’s official portal states that as Chancellor, he acts independently of the Council of Ministers and takes his own decisions on all University matters.

On the other hand, the website of Rajasthan’s Raj Bhawan states that the Governor appoints the Vice Chancellor on the advice/ in consultation with the State Government.

What about Central universities?

Under the Central Universities Act, 2009, the President of India shall be the Visitor of a central university.  

With their role limited to presiding over convocations, Chancellors in central universities  are appointed by the President in his capacity as Visitor. 

The VCs too are appointed by the Visitor from panels of names picked by search and selection committees formed by the Union government. 

The President, as the Visitor, also has the right to authorise inspections of academic and non-academic aspects of the universities and also to institute inquiries.

Source: This post is based on the article Kerala row and beyond: Governor’s role in state, central universities published in Indian Express on 13th Dec 2021.

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