The Supreme Court on 19 January 2016 stayed the disciplinary proceedings allegedly initiated by the Kerala government against state cadre IAS officer B. Ashok for writing a newspaper article in support of proposed visit of Narendra Modi, then Gujarat chief minister, to attend the silver jubilee of the Sivagiri Madhom.
A bench of Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Abhay Mahohar Sapre stayed the disciplinary proceedings as senior counsel K.V. Vishwanathan told the bench that the merely writing an article in a newspaper could not be construed as a breach of All India Services (conduct) Rules, 1968.
Ashok in his article had said that there should not be any opposition to Modi visiting the Sivagiri Madhom, a visit that Modi eventually undertook after becoming the prime minister.
Vishwanathan told the court that it was the chancellor of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU) who could have removed Ashok as its vice chancellor and the state government had no competence.
In May 2013, the Kerala government had recommended to the governor that Ashok be removed as the vice chancellor of KVASU for allegedly violating guidelines issued by the governor for writing articles and the breach of services rules.