Kerala HC Orders Reinstatement of Professor Suspended over SM Post

Prasad Pannian was removed as the HOD after he put up a Facebook post condemning the arrest of a research scholar.

2 min read
Prasad Pannian was removed as the HOD after he put up a Facebook post condemning the arrest of a research scholar.

Kerala High Court has directed Central University of Kerala (CUK), Kasargod, to reinstate Professor Prasad Pannian, who was suspended for allegedly criticising the university on social media.

Pannian was suspended from his post of Head of Department (HoD) of English and Comparative Literature in September after he put up a post on Facebook criticising the University’s decision concerning the arrest of a PhD student.

Pannian had made the Facebook post on 11 August, in solidarity with research scholar Ganthoti Nagaraju, who had been arrested for breaking the glass pane of a fire alarm in the hostel, The News Minute reported.

“In a democracy, every institution is governed by democratic norms. Healthy criticism is a better way to govern a public institution,” the court noted, according to The New Indian Express.

“That an act of misdemeanour has been criminalised is deeply disturbing. As far as I understand, this is a minor offence that should have been settled on the campus itself,” Pannian had written in the Facebook post, The News Minute reported.

“It is a matter of formulation of an opinion of others. As pointed out by the court in several judgments, in the absence of any social media guidelines, such post has to be viewed to find out whether it would be detrimental to the collective interest of the university. The expression of opinion of a teacher in regard to an action cannot be considered as criticism.”
Kerala High Court

The ruling was issued based on a petition filed by Prasad Pannian, which sought to quash his suspension.

Speaking to The News Minute, Pannian said, “More than individual satisfaction, it is also a victory of democratic values and freedom of expression. Especially since this order stresses the importance of those values in a public institution.”

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