Published: 13th July 2021
Kerala University Malayalam Lexicon row: Fresh questions raised over appointment of Dr H Poornima
The committee called for a comprehensive inquiry into the appointment made by the Vice-Chancellor and the immediate removal of Poornima from the post of Malayalam lexicon editor
A day after the appointment of Dr H Poornima, wife of R Mohanan who is serving as the officer on special duty at the Chief Minister's office, in Kerala University kicked up a row, more facts came out raising further questions over her appointment. The Save University Campaign Committee, a whistleblower group functioning for the welfare of the varsity, said the educational qualification of a degree in Sanskrit language research was deliberately added as part of the eligibility criteria along with a post-graduate qualification in Malayalam in the notification issued for the appointment of the editor of the Malayalam lexicon.
"It is clear that the addition to the eligibility criteria was aimed at appointing Poornima, a Sanskrit teacher at Kalady Sanskrit University. It is a mystery that the appointment notice issued on January 28 was not published in the newspapers or in the departments of the university," M Shajar Khan, secretary of the committee said in a statement. The campaign committee further said that neither the University vice-chancellor nor the syndicate has the power to change the qualifications specified in the University ordinance. The case was similar to the nepotism charges against the former Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel, it said. The committee called for a comprehensive inquiry into the appointment made by the Vice-Chancellor and the immediate removal of Poornima from the post of Malayalam lexicon editor.
On Sunday, the committee lodged a complaint with Governor Arif Mohammed Khan that Poornima, a Sanskrit teacher with the Kalady Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, was appointed the editor of the Malayalam lexicon flouting qualification norms. The complaint says the appointment of a Sanskrit teacher, ignoring senior Malayalam professors of the university, is against the university statute that only persons proficient in the language are eligible. Reacting to this, Kerala University Vice-Chancellor V P Mahadevan Pillai had told mediapersons that the appointment was made by a selection committee comprising experts. However, the university has not clarified whether the appointment is in violation of the stipulation that only language-proficient persons can be appointed in the post. Leading Malayalam scholars like Sooranad Kunjan Pillai, B C Balakrishnan and linguist P Somasekaran Nair had been the lexicon editors till date.
Meanwhile, Poornima told mediapersons on Monday that she had joined the service as per the rules and regulations of the university. "I have applied as per the eligibility criteria and specifications given in the notification. So the university needs to explain the present controversy," she said.