Kolkata: High Court dismisses reappointment of Calcutta University VC

Kolkata: High Court dismisses reappointment of Calcutta University VC

September 14, 2022

The Calcutta High Court has set aside the Bengal government’s decision to re-appoint Sonali Chakravarti Banerjee as vice-chancellor of Calcutta University and ordered her removal from the post.

The order said the re-appointment “has no legal force and is void in the eyes of law.”
 
The division bench of Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj passed the order on a  PIL by an alumnus challenging the re-appointment stating that the state government had no power to appoint or re-appoint vice-chancellor and the said power lies with the chancellor.
 
The state governor is the chancellor of all state universities in Bengal including Calcutta university.
The state higher education department had issued an order on August 27, 2021 re-appointing Chakravarti Banerjee.
The government had invoked Section 60 of the university act, which empowers the state government to pass necessary orders for ” removal of difficulty.”
 
The state government had to invoke the law as the then governor Jagdeep Dhankar did not consent to the re-appointment of Chakravarti Banerjee as the vice-chancellor of Calcutta University.
 
According to the court order issued on Tuesday, “The order of the reappointment of respondent No 4 as the vice-chancellor, Calcutta University, issued by the state government, has no legal force in the eyes of law and non-existent, hence liable to be set aside.”
 
The PIL was filed by an alumnus Anindya Sundar Das who is an advocate.
 
Advocate general S.N. Mukherjee who appeared on behalf of the state had cited that various amendments to the Calcutta University Act. He had submitted that a provision in the law that required the government to follow certain procedures which had been dropped through an amendment. 
 
Chakravarti Banerjee was first appointed as the vice-chancellor of Calcutta University on August 28, 2017.
Her term expired on August 27, 2021.
 
Dhankar the then chancellor had allowed extension of her term for three months and asked the state government to appoint the next full-term vice-chancellor following due process as prescribed in the Act.
 
 
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