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Bengal VCs not included in UGC panel, says education minister Bratya Basu

Bengal: Governor appoints 6 more VCs, are appointments legal, asks minister

October 2, 2023
Mita Mukherjee

West Bengal governor CV Ananda Bose on Sunday appointed interim vice-chancellors of six state-aided universities prompting the state education minister Bratya Basu to raise a question on the legality of the decision.

The Supreme Court has recently said that it will constitute a search committee that would select whole time vice-chancellors for state universities. The state education department, Raj Bhavan and the University Grants Commission (UGC) have already sent the names of their nominees for constituting the search panel as directed by the apex court.

Reacting to the chancellor’s move, education minister Basu said the government would seek the opinion of the Supreme Court whether the decision of the governor who is the chancellor of all state universities is “legally tenable” at a time when the court has already started the process of appointing permanent vice-chancellors through search committees.

The governor had earlier appointed officiating vice-chancellors of 13 universities without consulting the state government.

In the list of six appointees released by Raj Bhavan, one is retired IPS officer and the remaining five are academics.

Earlier in July, the governor had appointed M Wahib a retired IPS officer as the interim vice-chancellor (VC) of Aliah University.

In a notice issued by Raj Bhavan stated the governor also the ex-officio chancellor of all state universities has appointed Achintya Saha as officiating VC of Murshidabad University, Bivraj Bhusan Parida as officiating VC of Mahatma Gandhi University, Nikhil Chandra Ray as the officiating VC of Coochbehar Panchanan Barma University, Rathin Bandyopadhyay of Alipurduar University and Dilip Maity as the officiating VC of Biswa Bangla University.

Reacting to the decision of the governor, education minister Basu said, “The matter is sub judice before the Supreme Court. The governor does not want to follow the order of the Supreme Court. It is up to him whether he wants to abide by the Supreme Court. Are these appointments legal at this point of time. We will certainly draw the attention of the Supreme Court in this regard. Appointment of retired IPS officers in the VC posts is also not desirable. I wonder whether the universities can be run by so many retired police officers.”

The state government and the governor are at loggerheads for quite some time over appointment of interim VCs at state-aided universities. The state government had been continuously opposing the governor’s move to appoint VCs without consulting the state higher education department.

The state government had moved a special leave petition in the Supreme Court in August challenging the chancellor’s move to appoint officiating VCs without consulting the state government.

Also read: Bengal VCs not included in UGC panel, says education minister Bratya Basu

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