Presidency search

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 4.08.10

“In most cases, the search committees in Bengal had hardly followed the standard process as the government and the party wanted their nominees for the top jobs,” said a retired professor of a central university, adding that the process of selecting a vice-chancellor normally takes two to three months.

Setting a one-month deadline even before the delivery of formal appointment letters to two of the committee members — Bagchi and Ghosh —was too ambitious, added the professor.

“If such deadlines are set even before the search starts, it raises natural questions about the process…. Has the government made up its mind? Do they want to use the search committee only as a rubber stamp?” asked an alumnus of the college.

According to the rulebook, the institution must have its first vice-chancellor within three months from the date of the governor’s assent. As M.K. Narayanan had put his signature on the Presidency University Bill on July 7, the Bengal government has time till October 7.

The provisions in the act also specify that the duration of the term of the first vice-chancellor is only for a year. The first vice-chancellor can be re-appointed for a second term after the constitution of the policy-making bodies of the university.

Ghosh being the convener of the search panel, it is his responsibility to convene its meetings. The first meeting is likely to be convened sometime next week.

Although the process of selection of the search committee — familiar faces with known Left connections — has raised doubts about the intention of the government, sources in Writers’ Buildings said the committee had been given the mandate to find the best possible candidates.

“The search committee will take suggestions from outsiders and go through the track record of all the candidates diligently before selecting the vice-chancellor,” said the government source.

Correction: The Telegraph report on Tuesday had said erroneously that Kaushik Basu, the adviser to the Union finance ministry, was an alumnus of Presidency College. We apologise for the mistake.