Supreme Court upholds Cal HC order on reappointment of CU VC

Supreme Court upholds Cal HC order on reappointment of CU VC

October 12, 2022
Mita Mukherjee
Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld an order of Calcutta High court setting aside the re-appointment of Sonali Chakravarti Banerjee as vice-chancellor of Calcutta Univetsity.
 
The top court observed that the West Bengal government had “usurped” the power of the chancellor, the state governor, by reappointing Chakravarti Banerjee as the Cclcutta Univetsity vice chancellor.
 
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli said that the impugned High Court order was correct both in facts and in law.
 
 
The bench said that the state had misused a clause of the Calcutta Univetsity act to “usurp the power of the chancellor” for reappointing  Chakravarti Banerjee to the post.
 
It further said that the State cannot have done away with the clause requiring approval of the governor who is the chancellor of the university.
 
Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli had reserved judgement on September 16 on the petitions filed by the state government and the ousted vice- chancellor against the High Court.
 
In a notification issued on August 17, 2021, the state government had re-appointed the vice-chancellor with effect from August 28, 2021 for a period of four years or till she attains 70, whichever is earlier.
 
A lawyer Anindya Sundar Das, also an alumnus of Calcutta Univetsity had filed a public interest litigation before Calcutta High Court challenging the re-appointment. He claimed that Chakravarti Banerjee had been re-appointed in violation of the Calcutta Univetsity Act. The High Court had allowed the petition holding that the state government did not have the powers to make the re-appointment without the approval of the governor.
 
Chckravarti Banerjee was first appointed as the vice-chancellor on August 28, 2017. Her term had expired on August 27, 2021.
 
Jagdeep Dhankar, the then Bengal governor had granted three months extension and asked the state government to appoint a full-term vice-chancellor for four years following due process as prescribed in the university act. 
 
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