Governor C.V. Ananda Bose, who is chancellor of state universities, has asked the vice-chancellor of Rabindra Bharati University to call a meeting of its court on May 7, despite the fact that the court had met on March 31 to approve the names of DLitt recipients.
The honorary DLitt degrees are to be awarded at the convocation that has been scheduled for May 8.
A senior RBU official said they had not approached Raj Bhavan for a fresh meeting of the court, the highest decision-making body of the university, because it had already met on March 31 and the names of the DLitt recipients had been sent to the governor for approval.
“We came to know about the chancellor’s decision on holding another meeting of the court on May 7, a day before the convocation, through a letter he sent to the VC,” he said.
The subject of the chancellor’s letter is “holding the meeting of court and 45th annual convocation”, the RBU official said.
Signed by the chancellor’s assistant secretary, the letter says: “With reference to the letter noted above on the subject I am directed to inform you that chancellor... has kindly accorded the permission to hold the court meeting on May 7.”
The letter from Raj Bhavan, the official said, followed a letter from RBU to the governor on April 4 seeking permission to “hold a meeting of the court and the annual convocation.” The letter had to be sent because the convocation is considered “an extended meeting of the court”, the official said.
The chancellor is chairperson of the court.
“We did not seek any permission for a court meeting a day before the convocation. But it seems the court meeting has been split from the convocation part and the authorities have been asked to call a meeting of the court a day before the convocation,” the official said.
The chancellor has also accorded permission to hold the convocation on May 8. The official described it as a “mere formality”.
The West Bengal State Universities (Terms and Conditions of Service of the Vice-Chancellor & the Manner and Procedure of Official Communication) Rules 2019 say: “The meeting of the Senate/Court... shall be convened by the vice-chancellor with an intimation to the department and the department may intimate the same, wherever necessary, to the chancellor for the record.”
Calls and text messages from this newspaper to RBU vice-chancellor Nirmalya Narayan Chakrabarti failed to elicit any response.
Many on the RBU campus are worried whether the honorary DLitt degrees could be awarded to those whose names had been approved by the court at the March 31 meeting because of the chancellor’s insistence on another meeting of the body.
“The names that have been approved for the DLitt (honoris causa) are Ruskin Bond, Arati Mukhopadhyay, Jogesh Dutt and Raghab Kaneria. What if the chancellor proposes a fresh set of names and insists that a special convocation be held later to award the honorary degrees,” the official said.
In December 2019, Jadavpur University had to return the DLitt and DSc (honorary) certificates to then Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar a day after he called up the vice-chancellor and allegedly expressed dissatisfaction over the decision to defer the special convocation without his consent.