The Kerala High Court on Monday revoked the appointment of K Riji John as the vice chancellor of the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies on account of violations of the University Grants Commission Regulations, 2018, The Hindu reported.

The regulations, reiterated by petitioner KK Vijayan, state that a selection committee has to submit a panel of three names to the chancellor unanimously for the vice chancellor’s post.

In this case, the selection committee had only recommended John’s name. The chancellor had later notified his appointment.

The petitioner had also claimed that the selection committee did not mention anything about John’s academic experience. Vijayan said that the University Grants Commission regulations require a vice chancellor candidate to have 10 years of experience as a professor or in a research and academic administrative organisation. John did not have such qualifications, he added.

A bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chali, while allowing the petition, on Monday asked the chancellor to take steps to appoint a new vice chancellor to the university, The Hindu reported.

John, whose appointment was quashed, was one of the 10 vice chancellors in the state whom Governor Arif Khan had called on to step down on October 23 following a Supreme Court verdict that highlighted the provisions for appointment under University Grants Commission norms.

This decision led to a backlash from the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government, which alleged that the governor’s action was a “Sangh Parivar conspiracy to weaken Kerala’s resistance against the saffronisation of the education sector”.

On November 10, the state government had also amended the rules of Kerala Kalamandalam, a deemed-to-be-university for art and culture, in order to remove Khan as its chancellor. The state Cabinet has decided to request Khan to promulgate an ordinance removing him as the sole chancellor of the universities so that renowned academicians can be appointed to the post.