Kerala govt. moves to divest Governor of Chancellor Role


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Chancellor

Mains level: States vs Governor at crossroads


In the latest escalation of its running battle with Governor, the Kerala government has decided to remove him as Chancellor of State universities, seeking to replace him with “renowned academic experts”.

Who is a Chancellor of a University?

  • In India, almost all universities have a chancellor as their titular head whose function is largely ceremonial.
  • The governor of the state, appointed as the union’s representative of state by the president, is the honorary chancellor of all State owned universities.
  • The de facto head of any government university is the vice-chancellor.
  • In private non-profit universities, normally the head of the foundation who has established the university is the chancellor of the university and is the head of the university.

Role of Governors in State Universities

  • In most cases, the Governor of the state is the ex-officio chancellor of the universities in that state.
  • Its powers and functions as the Chancellor are laid out in the statutes that govern the universities under a particular state government.
  • Their role in appointing the Vice-Chancellors has often triggered disputes with the political executive.

What about Central Universities?

  • Under the Central Universities Act, 2009, and other statutes, the President of India shall be the Visitor of a central university.
  • With their role limited to presiding over convocations, Chancellors in central universities are titular heads, who are appointed by the President in his capacity as Visitor.
  • The VCs too are appointed by the Visitor from panels of names picked by search and selection committees formed by the Union government.
  • The Act adds that the President, as Visitor, shall have the right to authorize inspections of academic and non-academic aspects of the universities and also to institute inquiries.

What is Kerala attempting to do?

  • Education comes under the Concurrent List.
  • In an official statement, the Kerala Cabinet noted the M.M. Punchhi Commission had vouched against granting Governors the power of Chancellors.
  • In many states, the elected governments have repeatedly accused the Governors of acting at the behest of the Centre on various subjects, including education.


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