The state higher education department on Monday extended the tenure of Ashis Chatterjee as interim vice-chancellor of Calcutta University (CU) for one more month with the consent of Governor C.V. Ananda Bose, who is ex officio chancellor of the state universities.
Also during the day, the department re-appointed Om Prakash Mishra, a Jadavpur University professor, as interim VC of North Bengal University (NBU) for two months with the chancellor’s nod.
Chatterjee, a CU professor, was appointed as interim VC of the university in October after the Supreme Court had upheld a high court order removing Sonali Chakravorti Banerjee on the ground that the state government had not followed UGC rules while appointing her as VC for a second term of four years in 2021.
Chatterjee’s extended tenure as CU’s interim VC ended on March 19. On Monday, he got a further extension for a month.
Mishra was appointed as interim VC of North Bengal University after VC Subires Bhattacharyya was arrested by the CBI last September in connection with alleged irregularities in appointments in secondary schools during his tenure as the school service commission chairman from 2014-2018.
Mishra’s tenure ended in February and the university was without a VC so long.
“We are relieved that VCs have been appointed in these two affiliating universities at a time when all state universities have been asked to take appropriate steps ahead of the introduction of the four-year undergraduate programme, in compliance with the UGC’s directive,” an official in the higher education department said.
Governor Bose had earlier this month extended the tenure of interim VCs of several universities for three months after they handed him their resignations.
Their resignations and reappointments were necessary because the state government had appointed them without approval from then governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.
Sources in the higher education department said universities without a full-term VC would have to be helmed by interim VCs for some time as the state government has yet to amend its acts to make the process of appointing VCs compliant with the UGC 2018 regulations.
Calcutta High Court had last week told the department to “amend” its acts so a person could be VC only if he or she had 10 years’ experience as professor in a university or 10 years’ experience working in a reputable research organisation and/or an administrative organisation.
The amendments must also ensure that the search committees for the appointment of VCs have a UGC nominee.