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Bengal cabinet decides to move Bill to appoint chief minister as chancellor of universities

Bengal cabinet to move Bill to appoint CM as chancellor of universities

May 26, 2022
Mita Mukhejee

The West Bengal cabinet on Thursday decided that the chief minister will replace the Governor as Chancellor of all state-aided universities.

The state government will place a Bill in the state Assembly to amend the act.
 
The Bill will need the Governor’s consent to become a law.  The state government will pass an ordinance if the present governor Jagdeep Dhankar does not give his assent to the proposed Bill, state education minister Bratya Basu said after the cabinet meeting.
 
According to the existing system, the Governor is the ex-officio chancellor of all state universities including Calcutta University, Jadavpur University and Presidency University.
 
“Today we have taken a decision that all state-run universities will have the CM and not Governor as chancellor. This will be taken to the assembly for the act to be amended,” Bengal education minister Basu said. 
 
The decision is significant as it comes in the backdrop of the present governor’s clash with the state government over the appointment of vice-chancellors.
 
The Bengal government and Governor Jagdeep Dhankar had been in a collision over appointment of vice-chancellors and other administrative matters of the state universities for a long time and Dhankar had recently claimed that appointments of vice-chancellors of 24 state universities in the state had been made without his approval or in defiance of his orders. On the other side, the state government had come down heavily on the governor several times for allegedly not cooperating with the state government that has been thrice voted to power.  
 
The Trinamul Congress government is presently facing a CBI probe over alleged irregularities over the appointment of teachers and non-teaching employees of state-aided schools by the state School Service Commission.
Some academics are of the opinion that the move to curb the powers of the governor will result in the politicisation of Higher Education.
 
However, according to others, the governor is the ceremonial head of the state but Dhankar had been meddling with the administrative matters of the universities for a long time. The state government wouldn’t have made the chief minister the chancellor of universities if there was less intervention and cooperation from the governor. 
  
It can be mentioned here that Tamil Nadu has recently passed a Bill empowering the state government to take the final decision on the appointment of vice-chancellors.
 
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