Kochi: Kerala High Court on November 17, 2022, made Priya Vsarghese’s appointment as the Associate Professor in Kannur University null and void. Justice Devan Ramachandran said, the Rank List should be reconstituted. Naturally, she will be out of the list due to lack of qualifications as per UGC regulations.
Priya is the wife of K.K. Ragesh, former Rajya Sabha MP and currently private secretary to Chief Minister and CPM supremo Pinaray Vijayan.
Priya told the media that she respects the Court Verdict. She would discuss with the legal experts what course of action to be taken.
Joseph Scaria, the petitioner, said that an expert committee or screening committee should have assessed the application before shortlisting the candidates for interview.
CPM leaders including the chief minister have been arguing that Priya was an eligible candidate. CM PInarayi Vijayan once asked if being the wife of a CPM leader is a disqualification for a job.
Justice Devan Ramachandran expressed dissatisfaction towards Priaya’s FB post ridiculing the Court’s reference yesterday that ‘digging the pits is not teaching’. The court shall make several references. The accused or respondent shall not see the court as an enemy, the court cancelled the rank list, with Priya Varghese having the first rank.
The court said, teachers should be role models for society. The court quoted Dr S. Radhamirisnan in this regard. Teachers groom future teachers. Teachers are nation builders. They should be the best citizens in the society. Continuous teaching experience is very important. Priya did not even have the qualifications to apply for the position of Associate Professor, not even Assistant Professor. One can not be a teacher sans teaching experience. Pria is not above UGC rules.
Faculty developments and research period can not be construed as teaching. She does not have sufficient teaching experience. Her experience is only three years and 11 months instead of the required eight years. Court wondered how come she was short-listed. All other five candidates were more qualified than Priya. Court does not see any reason to justify Priya’s prayers. Director of Students Director or NSS Director or job in Bhasha Institute can not be equated to Assistant Professor nor teaching experience. No doubt, NSS is a community development and nation-building programme.
The UGC regulations and former Supreme Court verdicts are abundantly quoted in the verdict.
Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, in his capacity as the Chancellor, had frozen Priya’s appointment due to lack of qualifications. This verdict is a heavy jolt to the shameless nepotism CPM, and other LDF partners have been practising in the state with respect to appointments.