Monday, 30th October 2017

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Dhankhar query on JU honour rule

Focus on this year’s DLitt-DSc list

By Subhankar Chowdhury in Calcutta
  • Published 12.10.19, 1:51 AM
  • Updated 12.10.19, 1:51 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Jagdeep Dhankhar is scheduled to attend a meeting of the university’s court on October 18, where the list of probable recipients of honorary DLitt and DSc, which was approved by the executive council of the institute on September 30, will be taken up for discussion. Telegraph file picture

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has asked Jadavpur University to elaborate on how it drew up a list of this year’s probable DLitt and DSc recipients.

Vice-chancellor Suranjan Das had on October 9 met senior JU officials to prepare a note on the selection procedure and a response was sent to the governor’s office on Wednesday evening, an official of the university said.

The governor is also chancellor of the institute.

“The chancellor’s office has been informed how the list has been drawn up. In our response we have cited the clauses of the statute to explain the procedure. We don’t want him to find any flaw in the process,” said the official.

Dhankhar is scheduled to attend a meeting of the university’s court on October 18, where the list of probable recipients of honorary DLitt and DSc, which was approved by the executive council of the institute on September 30, will be taken up for discussion.

The executive council had recommended poet Sankha Ghosh and former foreign secretary Salman Haider for DLitt and scientist C.N.R. Rao and the director of the Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta, Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay for DSc.

A JU official said the chancellor’s office had sent an email during Puja to the VC, seeking to know the procedure followed to draw up the list.

The university’s statute authorises a committee comprising the VC, two pro-VCs, registrar and the dean of each of the four faculties to prepare a list of probable recipients.

The list is placed before the executive council for endorsement. Once the council gives its nod, the list is forwarded to the court for final approval.

At JU, officials said, ratification of the council-approved list by the court is believed to be a mere formality.

Pabitra Sarkar, a former vice-chancellor of Rabindra Bharati University who had taught at Jadavpur University, said the chancellor’s query about the selection procedure amounted to intervention in the institute’s daily affairs.

“The university has recommended the names of individuals with impeccable credentials. A university like JU has a competent team for screening names.... I fail to understand why the chancellor has to intervene in such routine exercise. His approach smells of infra dig,” Sarkar said.

Repeated calls to VC Das went unanswered.

Dhankhar had said in Siliguri on September 24 that only the chancellor, vice-chancellor and the administrative bodies of a university — and “no one else” — had the right to run its daily affairs.

The governor’s assertion about his role in running universities had made many academics wonder whether it amounted to “overreach”.

A Raj Bhavan official, however, denied any “overreach” in Dhankhar’s decision to know how JU had prepared the list of probable DSc and DLitt recipients.

“He just wants to know the procedure. As a chancellor he can always exercise the right. It’s true that previous chancellors did not seek to be apprised about the procedures in such great details. But that does not mean no one will ever do it,” said the official.

The chancellor, in his capacity as chairperson of JU’s court, can preside over meetings of the panel. But in recent times no chancellor has visited the campus to attend a court meeting, said a JU official.

“Earlier governors used to delegate the power to the university to conduct court meetings. But this chancellor told the VC that he would attend the meeting when the list will be taken up,” the official said.