The Tamil Nadu Assembly Monday passed two Bills that empower the state government to appoint the vice-chancellors of 13 universities by taking over the Governor’s powers by amending the respective Acts. The opposition AIADMK and Bharatiya Janata Party opposed the Bills, and BJP MLAs staged a walkout.
Amid an escalating tussle between the state government and Governor R N Ravi, both Bills cited the Gujarat University Act, 1949, and the Telangana Universities Act, 1991, as the laws that allow state governments to appoint VCs. It also referred to the Karnataka State Universities Act, 2000, where the VCs are appointed by the chancellor with the state government’s concurrence. The ‘Statement of Objects and Reasons’ reveals another purpose of the Bills that includes the secretary of government in charge of finance as one of the syndicate members in all varsities by bringing amendments to the university statutes.
The amendments will come into effect and empower the government to appoint VCs in 13 state universities. The Chennai University Act, 1923, the Madurai Kamaraj University Act, 1978, the Anna University Act, 1978, the Bharathiar University Act, 1981, the Bharathidasan University Act, 1981, the Mother Teresa Women’s University Act, 1984, the Alagappa University Act, 1985, the Manonmaniam Sundaranar University Act, 1990, the Periyar University Act, 1997, the Tamil Nadu Open University Act, 2002, the Thiruvalluvar University Act, 2002, the Tamil Nadu Teachers Education University Act, 2008 and the Annamalai University Act, 2013 are among the 13 universities, governed by the state higher education department, that come under the Bills.
The Bills were passed on a day Governor Ravi inaugurated a two-day conference at the Ooty Raj Bhavan for VCs of state, central, and private universities in Tamil Nadu. UGC chairman M Jagadesh Kumar and Sridhar Vembu, the chief executive officer of Zoho Corporation, delivered special addresses at the conference organised by Raj Bhavan.