West Bengal education minister Bratya Basu has revived the idea of having the chief minister as the chancellor of state universities, instead of the governor.
The minister on Friday said they want Governor C.V. Ananda Bose to sign the bill — seeking to make the chief minister the chancellor of state universities — sent to Raj Bhavan 10 months ago.
Jagdeep Dhankhar, now Vice-President of India, was the West Bengal governor when the bill was sent to Raj Bhavan.
“If he (governor Bose) does not sign the bill, which was passed by the Assembly, then he must return it. We will have it passed by the Assembly again…. The governor is moving around like a white elephant. He is going everywhere (the universities),” Basu said on the sidelines of a programme.
“This does not seem to be a pragmatic and appropriate approach to us.”
The governor, who is ex officio chancellor of all state universities, visited three such institutions to preside over meetings of their decision-making bodies in the past five days. A section of the government felt it was an overreach.
Last week, minister Basu had described as “legally untenable” a communication that the governor had sent to all state university VCs asking them to send a “weekly activity report” to Raj Bhavan.
The governor is visiting universities keeping his department in the dark, Basu alleged on Friday.
During an interaction with the teachers of Netaji Subhas Open University on Wednesday, the governor made an interim arrangement authorising the senior most faculty member to discharge the duties of VC until furtherorders.
The university has been without a VC for some time.
“He (Bose) is bypassing the education department while doing all this. He is not even bothering to inform the chief minister about what he is doing. The governor is making someone a vice-chancellor and touring university campuses. He can do whatever he feels like. But before doing that the governor must sign the bill that is awaiting his signature over the past 10 months,” minister Basu said.
“A Supreme Court order says the governor cannot sit on a bill for more than two weeks,” he said.
On June 13, 2022, the West Bengal Assembly had passed a bill that seeks to install chief minister Mamata Banerjee as chancellor of state-run universities replacing the governor.
Asked why the state had not asked the new governor to sign the bill in all these months, an official said: “Till March, he was working in close cooperation with the education department. His approach changed on April 4 when he told VCs through a communication that they have to email a weekly activity report to Raj Bhavan.”