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Governor criticised over VC appointment issue: West Bengal

KOLKATA: West Bengal education minister Bratya Basu criticised the governor by pointing out Governor Jagdeep Dhankar’s unilateral appointment of a VC for Rabindra Bharati University. The decision he said was far different from what the state government had proposed last month while re-examining the appointment procedure of a bill on University administration passed by the Bengal assembly.

In a tweet, Basu said that a detailed statement was issued on June 30 about the re-examination of the proposal. Basu also tweeted “Regarding the appointment of 25 Vice Chancellors-Every Citizen of this country has to follow the provisions of extant Acts and Rules, unless declared ultravires by the competent Court of Law. Hon’ble Chancellor has decided not to follow the 2019 Rules. “ All the Vice Chancellors of State-aided Universities have been appointed as per extant provisions of the constituting Acts of Universities and 2019 Rules”.

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The minister tweeted this in response to Dhankar’s previous statement on social media in which he stated that it was of “grave impropriety” that the spokesperson of the current ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) had made a “totally wrong statement” in terms of a Governor/Chancellor making an appointment of vice-chancellor of Rabindra Bharati University.

Over Kunal Gosh’s argument that the governor should have taken the chief minister and education minister into confidence before making the announcement, Dhankar said “betrays ignorance of the law as according to the enactments it is prerogative of the governor/chancellor to appoint Vice-Chancellors”.

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In a press statement, the governor on Twitter said that according to the request of Education Minister Bratya Basu, he has elected the top three names from a list that was given to him by the search committee of the government as the Vice-chancellor of Rabindra Bharati University. On Thursday, the governor named Mahua Mukharjee as the next VC of Rabindra Bharati University.

Claiming that he has now returned the “incomplete bill to the assembly, the governor said on Saturday he expects “maturity and property” from the current ruling party and the government. Recently, Dhankar has said that he is going to consider those bills without any “bias or prejudice”.

The West Bengal Universities and Colleges Act, 2017 stated VC’s communications to the chancellor will have to be routed through the higher education department, and the state government took its first move toward controlling the governor’s authority over universities and colleges.

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