The Kerala High Court on Thursday allowed the plea challenging the selection of Priya Varghese, wife of KK Ragesh, Private Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan as Associate Professor in the Department of Malayalam at Kannur University and ordered the competent authority of the university to reconsider the credentials of the 5th respondent (Priya Varghese) and decide whether she should continue on the ranking list. Once this investigation is complete and the rank list is sufficiently amended, further steps to make a nomination can be taken.
Judge Devan Ramachandran granted the motion in brief, noting that:
The teaching experience can only be real fact and not fiction or inference. To paraphrase, unless an applicant was able to demonstrate actual experience in teaching as required by the UGC Regulations 2018, he would not have been able to have his application approved by the University vetting committee. , which is also statutory. In this case, the review panel started from certain assumptions that it believed to be well-founded, in particular with respect to the periods of service claimed by the 5th respondent while he was carrying out research full-time and performing the duties Director of Student Services and Coordinator of the National Services Plan. Certainly, such activities would contribute to the promotion of a person’s growth as a good teacher, but this would not be enough in itself in the absence of the required teaching experience. What is needed is a happy mixture of the two, so that a teacher can guide his students.
The petition filed by the runner-up sought a directive from Kannur University and its selection committee to rework the ranking list for the post of Associate Professor in the Department of Malayalam after removing Priya Varghese.
The petitioner also argued that Ms Varghese was not sufficiently qualified to be interviewed because she did not have the required teaching experience. However, she was interviewed and the selection committee gave her the top spot.
When the matter was discussed earlier, the petitioner claimed that Priya Varghese was not eligible to be appointed as an associate professor according to the statute of Kannur University and the regulations of the University Grants Commission (UGC). In suspending Varghese’s nomination, the court had ordered that no nominations be made from the ranking list, not least because it only appears as a “provisional” list. The stay order was later extended by the Court.
Case Title: Dr. Joseph Skariah v. Vice-Chancellor (chairman of the selection committee)