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Academics want Bengal govt to move SC on pending Bills, blame chancellor for 'inaction'

The Forum, in a statement following a press conference, said that the Bengal government has accepted the Supreme Court direction, and has reconstituted search/selection committee(s), through an Ordinance, and then a Bill.
Last Updated : 10 November 2023, 17:43 IST

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Kolkata: The Educationists’ Forum, a platform representing a section of West Bengal’s academics, and several former vice chancellors of public universities, on Friday said that the process of search- and selection-committees for the state’s 31 universities has been “stalled” due to the “inaction” of Chancellor (Governor).

The Forum has also urged the West Bengal government for moving to Supreme Court regarding Bills pending with the governor. Incidentally, on Wednesday, Raj Bhavan Kolkata in a note had stated that no Bill is pending at its end – as found in a review meeting, and the state government has been updated accordingly. The Raj Bhavan has also launched a programme to “counter the charge of delay in disposal of Bills” passed by the state assembly.

The Forum, in a statement following a press conference, said that the Bengal government has accepted the Supreme Court direction, and has reconstituted search/selection committee(s), through an Ordinance, and then a Bill.

“As on (of) today, the subject of (the) institution of search-cum-selection committee(s) for selection of VC(s) has to be dealt with within the four corners of existing law(s) of the land. The only existing law of the land in this regard in WB is the Ordinance enacted and promulgated with prior assent of the Governor,” the statement mentioned.

“The legal provisions enshrined in the Ordinance and the subsequent Bill are consistent with the UGC Rules and introduced as per order of Hon’ble Calcutta High Court,” it added.

Requesting the state government to issue directions to the universities to abide by the provisions of West Bengal Colleges and Universities (Regulations and Administration) Act 2017, the academics stated that they are in favour of “constructive dialogue” and “positive action”. They have requested the Chancellor (Governor) to “confer” with the state government and withdraw some of the administrative directives given to universities in the recent past.

Referring to several cases concerning the issue of governor’s assent to Bills, the academics have stated, “We urge the Government of West Bengal to move the Supreme Court on the pending Bills with the Governor and /or become an added party in the cases filed by the State of Punjab and other States.”

Around 400 educationists, including 23 former vice chancellors, in September, had gathered outside Raj Bhavan Kolkata to protest against various issues concerning universities. They had questioned the appointment of vice chancellors by the governor.

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Published 10 November 2023, 17:43 IST

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