Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

Governor’s Role in State Universities


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Role of Governors in State Universities

Mains level : Issues with role of Governor

A controversy has erupted in Kerala over the reappointment of a person as the Vice-Chancellor of Kannur University, with Governor saying he approved the decision against his “better judgment” as Chancellor.

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.

A disputed case

  • In Kerala’s case, the Governor’s official portal asserts that while as Governor he functions with the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.
  • While acting as Chancellor he acts independently of the Council of Ministers and takes his own decisions on all University matters.
  • In marked contrast, the website of Rajasthan’s Raj Bhawan states that the “Governor appoints the Vice-Chancellor on the advice/ in consultation with the State Government”.

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.


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