The West Bengal government has welcomed the Supreme Court's decision to set up a search committee for shortlisting and appointing vice-chancellors in 13 state-run universities.
Bengal Education Minister Bratya Basu told reporters here on Friday that the state government welcomed the apex court's decision and said and it would obey all its directives.
"We had all along maintained that a search committee has to be formed in every university after holding discussions with the state government. We want such committees in every university as early as possible," Basu said.
"In accordance with the SC's observation, we will accept the search committee constituted at the behest of the honourable court and facilitate its functioning," the minister added.
"After receiving no response from the Chancellor and the UGC to the requests of the State, the SC displeased with the Chancellor, expressed concern for the education system in Bengal stating interim measures can't continue. Court took it upon itself to form search committee, State, Chancellor and UGC to give 3-5 nominees in a week," the minister wrote in 'X'.
The apex court had on Friday asked the governor, the state government and the UGC to suggest three to five names for each.
The top court was hearing the appeal of the West Bengal government against the June 28 order of the Calcutta High Court which said there was no illegality in the orders issued by the West Bengal governor appointing interim vice-chancellors in 11 state-run universities in his capacity as ex-officio chancellor of these institutions.
The Mamata Banerjee government and Governor CV Ananda Bose are locked in a bitter tussle over how the state's universities should be run.
A bench comprising justices Surya Kant and Dipankar Datta took note of the fact that the state government's Bill on appointment of VCs was pending approval of the governor and said the court itself will form a search committee.
"The court has directed the office of the governor, the state government and the University Grants Commission to give three to five names for consideration of the bench for the search committee by September 25," advocate Subhasish Bhowmick, who appeared for the office of the governor, said.
The court will hear the plea again on September 27.
Basu regretted that the governor was yet to sign the Bill passed by state assembly for constituting the search committees, though he had earlier signed the ordinance passed by the state cabinet which paved the way for setting a five-member search committee having representatives of higher education department, chief minister office and higher education council apart from UGC and Chancellor.
Meanwhile, the Raj Bhawan issued a statement on Friday informing a vice-chancellor committee has been set up to identify the backlogs in the university administration and to suggest ways and means for revamping and rebooting the university system.
A realtime monitoring cell has also been set up in the Raj Bhavan for concurrent evaluation, the statement added.
"The vice-chancellors can contact the cell 24x7 and mail the grievances," the statement said.
"We have repeatedly said all such moves of the governor are unconstitutional. We have sent letters to him," ex-VC and academics platform Educationists' Forum spokesperson Om Prakash Mishra told PTI.
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