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Supreme Court issues notice on plea challenging appointment of Assistant Professor Priya Varghese

The Supreme Court has sought response from the Kannur University, the Kerala Higher Education Department and Priya Varghese on petitions challenging her appointment as Assistant Professor.

The Bench of Justice J.K. Maheshwari and Justice K.V. Viswanathan passed the order on Monday on two petitions challenging the appointment of Varghese.  

The Apex Court observed that the appointment would be subject to the outcome of pleas filed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and Dr. Joseph Skariah. 

The Apex Court directed both the petitioners to respond to each other’s appeal.

Skariah, who was ranked next to Varghese in the list of candidates considered for the post, moved the Kerala High Court against the appointment.

A Single-Judge Bench of the High Court ruled in November, 2022 that Varghese did not have the requisite teaching experience to be appointed to the post. 

She challenged this ruling before a Division Bench of the High Court, which observed last month that her candidature could be considered after also factoring the period spent by Varghese in pursuing her PhD under the faculty development programme and the time spent on deputation as Director of Student Services of the National Service Scheme of Kannur University.

The Division Bench further criticised the media for giving undue attention to the case while it was being adjudicated before the Single-Judge Bench.

Both the UGC and Dr. Skariah have moved the Apex Court against the Division Bench decision. The appeal by Dr. Skariah was filed through Advocate Atul Shankar Vinod.

Varghese is married to K.K. Ragesh, Private Secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

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