Several past and present vice-chancellors of state universities on Friday alleged that governor C.V. Ananda Bose was forcing VCs to act in violation of rules, which state the governor cannot directly ask VCs for reports.
They also accused the governor, who is ex officio chancellor of all state universities, of rewarding those who acted in violation of the rules.
“As per existing West Bengal College and University Administration Rules, 2019, all communications from the office of the chancellor to the vice-chancellor or vice versa should be routed through the department. It is unfortunate that the chancellor rewarded those VCs who have sent reports directly to him violating this rule and punished those VCs who have sent the report to the department following the rules,” said a release issued by the academics.
“Punishing the law-abiding people and rewarding the unlawful act by the authorities would push the society at large towards anarchy.”
An official in the governor’s office had said on Thursday, hours after 11 interim VCs were appointed by him, that the governor extended the services of those VCs who complied with the order to send weekly activity reports to the chancellery.
The chancellor had in April issued an order seeking the weekly reports directly from the VCs.
Ashutosh Ghosh, vice-chancellor of Rani Rashmoni Green University, said: “When I was interim VC of Calcutta University in 2016-17, there was a rule that stated VCs could send reports to the chancellor. But the rules framed in 2019 clearly state that all communications from the office of the chancellor to the vice-chancellor should be routed through the education department. I am not getting into the debate on whether the rules are right or wrong.”
“Now the chancellor seems to be extending the tenure of those VCs who violated the rules. This is bizarre”.
Om Prakash Mishra, former VC of North Bengal University, said the government had enacted the West Bengal State Universities (Terms and Conditions of Service of the Vice-Chancellor & the Manner and Procedure of Official Communication) Rules in December 2019 after getting an amendment passed by the Assembly.
“The chancellor could get the rules repealed by speaking to the chief minister or the Assembly or through some other ways. Instead of doing that, he is putting pressure on the VCs. This is illegal,” Mishra, a JU professor, said.
Calls and text messages and an email from this newspaper to the chancellor failed to elicit a response.