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Bratya Basu

Bratya accuses governor of appointing interim VCs of 10 universities without consultation

Education minister appeals to appointees to ‘reject’ assignment

Subhankar Chowdhury | Published 02.06.23, 04:29 AM
Bratya Basu

Bratya Basu

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Bengal education minister Bratya Basu tweeted on Thursday that governor C.V. Ananda Bose has appointed interim vice-chancellors of 10 universities in the state without consulting the government and described the move as “illegal”.

In the tweet, the minister urged the newly appointed VCs to “reject the appointment”.


The governor is chancellor of all state-aided universities.

Basu tweeted in the afternoon: “We came to know from the news media that the honourable chancellor has appointed vice-chancellors of 10 state-aided universities. These appointments were made without consulting the department. This was done in contravention of the rules laid down for the appointment of VCs and this is illegal. In these unprecedented circumstances we, on behalf of the department, are taking legal opinions on what steps could be initiated in future.”

“On behalf of the higher education department, we are respectfully requesting the vice-chancellors who have been appointed illegally, to reject this appointment.”

Calls and text messages and an email to the chancellor from this newspaper failed to elicit any response.

A source at Raj Bhavan said: “Clearing the deadlock in the appointment of interim vice-chancellors to 27 universities, governor C.V. Ananda Bose, in his capacity as chancellor of universities, has started appointing interim vice-chancellors.”

According to sources in the governor’s office, Bose has appointed VCs of 11 universities, including Calcutta, Jadavpur and Kalyani Universities.

A letter signed by governor Bose and addressed to Amitava Dutta, pro-VC of Jadavpur University, says: “Upon the authority vested in the chancellor by the statute and in deference to the orders issued by the Calcutta High Court…. Prof Amitabha Dutta, the pro VC of Jadavpur University is authorized to exercise the power and perform the duties of the vice-chancellor for Jadavpur University till further orders.”

Suranjan Das ended his nine-year stint as vice-chancellor of Jadavpur University on Wednesday.

Calcutta University had been functioning without a vice-chancellor since April 19, the day the extended tenure of Ashish Chatterjee as VC came to an end. The governor has appointed Santa Datta as interim VC of CU.

Interim VCs are being appointed as selecting a full-term VC through a five-member search committee will take time.

An official in the education department said minister Basu was referring to the West Bengal State Universities (Terms and Conditions of Service of the Vice Chancellor & the Manner and Procedure of Official Communication) Rules 2019 when he described the governor’s decision to appoint interim VCs as “illegal”.

“The rules related to nominating a person to any body, authority or committee of any university state that the education minister will suggest at least three names for each nomination. The chancellor will select one of the names suggested by the minister and convey the decision to the minister,” the official said.

“While appointing a vice-chancellor, the rules say the chancellor shall maintain the order of preference of names placed before him.”

The official said that as long as the rules are in force, the chancellor is bound to consult the minister for appointing vice-chancellors.

“But the chancellor is acting unilaterally. He is not consulting the minister. So the minister has flagged his concern about the violation of rules,” the official said.

The education department had in the third week of March extended the tenure of Ashis Chatterjee as interim VC of Calcutta University by a month with the consent of the governor.

Around the same time, the department re-appointed Om Prakash Mishra, a Jadavpur University professor, as interim VC of North Bengal University for two months with the chancellor’s nod.

“But this approach of acting in consultation with the department has been junked by the chancellor. So this prompted a strong response from the minister,” the official said.

“In April, the chancellor asked all VCs to send him weekly activity reports on the last day of every week. The rules framed in 2019 mandate that VCs cannot communicate with the chancellor directly. All communications to the chancellor have to be routed through the education department. Now, while appointment interim VCs, the chancellor is again acting in violation of rules,” the official said.

Repeated calls to Amitava Datta, who has been appointed as interim VC of Jadavpur University, from this newspaper failed to elicit any response.

The Telegraph sent him a WhatsApp message asking him whether he would take over as interim VC of Jadavpur University. That went unanswered, too.

Calls and text messages from this newspaper to Shanta Dutta, who has been appointed as interim VC of Calcutta University, failed to elicit any response.

Last updated on 02.06.23, 09:32 AM

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