Calcutta, Nov. 16: The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences has lost an opportunity to make use of the talent of Suvaprasanna, a key member of Mamata Banerjee’s culture clan.
The painter has declined to be the state government’s nominee to the law university’s academic council, although the government has proposed his name.
The law school is a central institution, but the two decision-making bodies at the institute — the executive council and the academic council — have representatives from the state government.
Following the expiry of the five-year terms of the academic council and executive council members nominated during the Left Front regime — Justice Chittatosh Mukherjee and former advocate-general Balai Ray — the institute had sought fresh names from the government in August.
The state law department had sent the name of Suvaprasanna for the academic council and the name of another retired judge for the executive council.
“I got a letter asking me to accept the nomination, but I declined as I thought I was not fit for the nomination,” Suvaprasanna told The Telegraph this evening.
Surajit C. Mukhopadhyay, registrar of the university, said the institute had written to the painter requesting him to join the council after the government suggested his name. “But we have not received any communication from him till date,” the official said.
The academic council is responsible for managing matters like framing the syllabus, periodically reviewing it, suggesting modern pedagogy, restructuring examination system and fixing weightage of various papers.
Apart from professors of the institute, the other members of the council usually have backgrounds in the legal profession and legal education.
The nomination of the painter to the post had raised several questions, both at Writers’ and at the institute.
“He may be a painter of repute but that doesn’t mean that he will have to be inducted into the academic council of a leading law school. This is another example of sycophancy by a section of government officials who want to impress the chief minister by nominating one of her favourites to the board,” said a source in the institute.
The painter also sits on various state government committees like the state heritage commission.
State law minister Moloy Ghatak, whose department had proposed Suvaprasanna’s name, didn’t see anything amiss. “It is not necessary that a policy-making body of a law institute should have people only from the legal profession,” Ghatak said.
“We had suggested the painter’s name as we felt that a person like him, who has vast social experience, should be a part of the legal education system. The other policy-making bodies of the institute too have people who do not belong to the legal profession or legal education,” said the minister, adding that the government has no information of the painter turning down the nomination.