Published: 11th October 2022
Supreme Court upholds Calcutta HC's order on reappointment of Calcutta University VC
The Supreme Court held that the West Bengal government did not have the authority to do away with clauses requiring the approval of the Governor for the VC's reappointment
The Supreme Court on Tuesday, October 11, upheld a Calcutta High Court verdict setting aside the reappointment of Sonali Chakravarti Banerjee as Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University.
According to a report by PTI, the Supreme Court bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli held that the impugned High Court order does not require any interference since it is accurate in law and fact.
The reappointment was done by the government of West Bengal, after doing away with the clause that requires the approval of the West Bengal Governor, who is the Chancellor of the University. The West Bengal government passed an order on August 27, 2021 to that effect.
It was an alumnus of the university who filed a PIL in the High Court challenging the reappointment. On September 13, the Calcutta High Court set aside Banerjee's reappointment and added that the state government has no authority to do so as per the provisions of the university's Act. The Supreme Court today stated that the State cannot have done away with the clause that requires the approval of the WB Governor, reported PTI.
The High Court held that the GO dated August 27, 2021, which was issued by a special secretary, cannot be sustained.
Further, it had ordered that the state had no authority to appoint or reappoint the VC either under Section 8 of the Calcutta University Act or by taking recourse to the residuary Section 60 of the Act, reported PTI.
Lawyers representing the state government and Banerjee had then submitted oral prayers to stay the operation of the order but were rejected by the Supreme Court.
Banerjee was appointed as Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University on August 28, 2017, for four years and her term expired on August 27, 2021. The Governor had then extended her tenure by three months on the condition that the selection process for the new VC would commence and would follow due process. It was then that the West Bengal government issued the order on August 27, 2021, reappointing Banerjee as the VC of Calcutta University, from August 28 for another four years.