Lawfully yours: By Retd Justice K Chandru

Your legal questions answered by Justice K Chandru, former Judge of the Madras High Court Do you have a question? Email us at
Lawfully yours: By Retd Justice K Chandru

Kerala VC row: Guv has no power of review under university statutes

Q: The tussle between Kerala Governor and state government has taken a dramatic turn with the former directing 11 vice chancellors to tender resignation, citing a Supreme Court judgment. While the legality of what the Governor has done remains a point of contention, is there a way the courts can pre-empt such flare-ups? Also, should a Chancellor act only on the recommendation of the state government? — Pavithra Thiyaghu, Anna Nagar

A: The two Governors — RN Ravi (TN) and Arif Mohammad Khan (Kerala) —are sitting over the bills passed by the respective State Assemblies without giving assent to them. If assent is provided, such problems will not have existed. But even in the absence of the bills getting consent, the law laid down is clear. The Governors, as of now, only have visitorial rights by which they have no dictatorial powers.

The Governor asking vice chancellors to resign based on a court order is not valid. Their appointments are not under challenge.

By the concept of ‘de facto doctrine’, even an illegal office holder can continue. Since it was the Governor who approved their appointment, he cannot cancel it as he has no power of review under the respective university statutes. Arif Khan is only playing a political game.

Inheritance rights equal for mother and children after father’s demise

Q: My parents own a small plot with a residential building, which they bought in 1998 and for which my mother is still making monthly EMI payments. We are four brothers, and I am the fourth son of my parents. After my father’s demise early this year, my elder brothers have not given me a single rupee for the upkeep of my mother. However, they wanted an equal share in the property and were compelling us to sell it. We then entered into a sale agreement with someone and have taken an advance of Rs 3 lakh, which will also help us clear the loan. My wife and mother are not okay with this equal share plan, and my mother is ready to appeal at any forum. Can you please suggest how to proceed? — Name withheld on request

A: The property division will be done not only among four brothers but will have to include your mother also. Since your mother is staying with you and you are taking care of her, her share will come to you as she can pass on her share to you. Otherwise, all sons will get equal shares only.

Your mother can ask for maintenance from other brothers also and can give it to you.

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