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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kerala has issued an order asking Registrar K.A. Hashim to demit office with immediate effect.
The order comes in the wake of a letter the university Chancellor and Governor R.S. Gavai faxed to the Vice-Chancellor's office on Friday evening.
The letter - sent in reply to a query from the university on Friday - points out that as per the varsity statutes, the Registrar can continue in office till he attains the age of 55.
Vice-Chancellor A. Jayakrishnan could not be reached for his comments. The Hindu has independently confirmed from the university that such an order was issued by Dr. Jayakrishnan.
Mr. Hashim told The Hindu that the Vice-Chancellor had informed him over the phone about the Chancellor's letter. “I was not even given an opportunity for a graceful exit,” he said.
Mr. Hashim ought to have retired in November 2010. His argument for continuing in office was that the university had passed orders implementing the decision of the State government to unify the retirement age and make it March 31 and, as such, he was entitled to continue in office till March 31, 2011.
The Chancellor's letter makes it clear that the varsity statutes prevail over the government order and any subsequent university order.
On March 10, Mr. Gavai, in his capacity as Chancellor of Kannur University, had overturned the decision of the university Syndicate granting the Registrar extension of service till March 31, 2011.
The Registrar of Kannur University too was to have retired in 2010. On November 27, the Syndicate decided to extend his term of office in view of the fact that the State government had unified the retirement age of employees and made it March 31.
In both cases, the Chancellor made it clear that the retirement age can be modified only if the university statutes are amended.
The Pro-Vice Chancellor of Kannur University - acting as the Vice-Chancellor -issued an order on March 10 which says that the university Registrar shall be “deemed to have retired from the position of Registrar of Kannur University on the day he attained the age of 55 years according to official records.”
According to sources in the University of Kerala, the university chose not to take a similar decision as its top officers were apprehensive that the legality of the Registrar's orders subsequent to November 2010 - including the conduct of the elections to the university Syndicate - may then be questioned. The varsity has also not yet given any official charge as Registrar.
While Kannur University had written to the Chancellor in February 2011 on its Syndicate decision, the University of Kerala did not do so till Friday.
“The varsity did the wrong thing by not ordering the retirement of the Registrar with effect from the day he attained 55 years of age. The present order actually goes against the essence of the Chancellor's opinion,” Senate member K.L. Vivekanandan told The Hindu.
Dr. Vivekanandan was among the five members of the Senate who petitioned the Chancellor on Friday asking that steps be taken to terminate the service of Mr.Hashim with effect from the day he attained 55 years of age.
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