Published: 01st September 2023
Governor acting on will; gov't will be forced to take legal route, says minister over VC appointments
On August 31, the education minister took exception to the appointment of VCs in 11 of the 31 state universities by the governor without consulting the higher education department and the minister
The tussle between the West Bengal state government and Raj Bhavan is going on. Amidst this, State Education Minister Bratya Basu today, September 1, alleged that the governor is acting on his own will by arbitrarily appointing interim vice-chancellors in state universities where the terms of the VCs had expired in March-April this year. The government, he said, will be "forced" to take the legal route if Governor CV Ananda Bose continued acting in such a way, as stated in a report by PTI.
Further, he expressed dismay over reports that the governor has taken the responsibility of discharging functions in 14 of the 20 other universities in the state till the appointments are made. Speaking to the media about the governor's move, Basu questioned saying, "How can the governor be the chancellor and vice-chancellor of a university at the same time? Can two items prepared from the same rice grain be the same?"
"It seems the governor believes in it. Don't know under which provisions of the law he is doing these things. Bose is acting at will without bothering to consult a democratically elected government. We will be forced to take the legal route if such things continue," Basu added.
On August 31, the education minister took exception to the appointment of VCs in 11 of the 31 state universities by the governor without consulting the state higher education department and the minister. "Even three-time chief minister (Mamata Banerjee) has not been consulted before such an appointment was made, which is nothing short of an insult to a people's representative. But we still wish to have a discussion with the governor on the issue out of courtesy," he said.
The West Bengal Educationist Forum on August 31 called upon the state to be more proactive in responding to the steps by the Raj Bhavan, which included appointing VCs. "I have been told of the appointments of vice-chancellors by the forum. The state will respond as per legal provisions. We are voicing our opposition to what he is doing repeatedly," the minister added.
The Calcutta High Court, in a judgment two months ago, said that there is no illegality in the orders issued by the West Bengal governor in appointing interim vice-chancellors in 11 state-run universities in his capacity as ex-officio chancellor of these institutions. Further, the court held that the chancellor has the power to appoint vice-chancellors as it has been laid down in relevant enactments, as stated in a report by PTI.