HC to hear petition on Mamata's doctorate

HC to hear petition on Mamata's doctorate

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a  plea filed against the decision of Calcutta University to award an honorary D Litt degree to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

A petition  filed by Abu Taleb and Ranjugopal Mukherjee  found mention at the division bench  headed by  acting Chief Justice Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya on Monday, following which  it had directed the petitioners to file the matter as a public interest litigation (PIL).

The court has decided to hear the petition tomorrow and also on January 11, the day the university is scheduled to confer the degree on Mamata.

The  PIL argues that Calcutta University is a state-funded institution and hence there will a loss of credibility if it confers  the degree on  the highest executive authority of the state.

On October 25 last year, Vice Chancellor Sonali Chakraborty Bandopadhyay had announced the institution's decision to confer the degree on Mamata.

"It was decided during the senate-syndicate meeting that a D Litt degree will be conferred on Mamata Banerjee for her literary and social work," she had said.

The  petitioners also argued that doubts have already been raised over  Mamata's academic credentials, which includes an alleged PhD, which they said could be bogus and she herself does not use.

Controversy had surfaced in March 1985 regarding Mamata's alleged PhD, when it came to light that the so-called "Georgia University" in the US, from where she claimed to have obtained her PhD, did not exist.

The Opposition parties have strongly criticised Calcutta University for its "blatant display of loyalty".

Criticising the decision, CPM polit  bureau member and Lok Sabha MP Mohd Salim said, "The chief minister is merely on the path to recover her prestige long lost due to her false claims of being a doctorate-holder from a non-existent university. It is a different thing that the move has robbed the state and the historic institution of its prestige. It shows the extent of appeasement in the education system of the state."

Congress MLA and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Abdul Mannan was equally critical of the university's decision.

"All state universities, including Calcutta University, have become extended branch offices of the TMC. What else is expected from them  except such a brazen decision? We are not surprised," Mannan said.

The BJP has criticised  the move  as well.

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