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Bengal: CM visits governor on VC appointment problem, says meeting was good

December 5, 2023
Mita Mukherjee
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday visited Raj Bhavan to meet governor CV Ananda Bose who is also the chancellor of all state universities, and discussed with him the ways to solve the “pending problems” regarding appointment of full-term vice-chancellors.
Her visit to Raj Bhavan comes three days after the Supreme Court directed the governor and the chief minister to sit across the table and bring about a solution to the problem regarding vice- chancellors.
 
“The meeting was good. You could see the meeting continued for an hour. We discussed how we can solve the pending problems. I think the way the discussion was held, there should not be any controversy or confusion,” Mamata said after the meeting.
 
“I know many of you (media) often talk a lot about the differences between the governor and the state government. But I think there is nothing better than settling the issues through mutual dialogue, which the Supreme Court has asked to do,” the chief minister said.
She said the meeting discussed about two phases.
 
“We discussed about the five-member committee. There is one phase which is about appointing temporary vice-chancellors. The other one is about the issues which are subjudice. This one is about the five-member committee on which a bill was passed in the Assembly, ” the chief minister said.
 
Repeating that the meeting was good, the chief minister explained that, “The bill was passed but before that an ordinance was promulgated which the governor had signed. So, you see there are no differences between us. We have discussed the matters in detail and we also agreed on something. But I cannot disclose everything to you.”
 
A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Surya Kant had on Friday asked Attorney-general R Venkataramani, appearing for the governor, to use his ” good offices” to find out a solution to the issue by suggesting to the constitutional authorities to resolve the matter across the table.
 
In August the state government had moved Supreme Court challenging the chancellor’s authority to appoint officiating vice-chancellors disregarding the government’s stand to appoint full-term vice-chancellor through a five-member committee.
 
Earlier, in May the state government formulated the West Bengal University Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2023, to constitute a five-member search committee for appointing vice-chancellors. The proposed five-member panel would include a nominee of chief minister and also recommend names to the governor for appointing vice-chancellor.
 
Meanwhile, in June, the governor had appointed officiating vice-chancellors without consulting the state government which the state higher education department had not considered as valid and this affected the day to day academic and administrative activities of the institutions.
 
According to several university teachers they are hopeful that the latest Supreme Court directive and the following meeting between the governor and chief minister will bring about a solution to the long standing problem.
 
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