Supreme Court to form panel for naming vice-chancellors of West Bengal universities

Supreme Court to form panel for naming vice-chancellors of West Bengal universities

The Supreme Court on Friday said that it will formulate a search cum selection committee for the appointment of Chancellors of Universities in the State of West Bengal.

A bench of Justices Suryakant and Dipankar Dutta asked for five names each from the University Grants Commission (UGC), State of West Bengal, and state Governor CV Ananda Bose, after that it will decide the composition of the search and selection committee, which will then decide on the appointment of Vice-Chancellors in the state.

The names will have to be submitted by September 25 after which the court will hear the matter in detail on September 27.

During the hearing today, the bench also expressed concern over the way the appointment of vice-chancellors are being challenged in court and said education should not suffer.

The court was hearing a plea by the West Bengal government that claimed that both the Chancellor and the UGC have failed to respond to any of the communications/reminders made by the government seeking a nominee from them to constitute the search and selection committee so that regular vice-chancellors can be appointed.

The state also contended before the top court that university registrars have also been given instructions by Raj Bhawan to not attend the review meeting scheduled by the state.

During the hearing, counsel for the Chancellor told the court that Raj Bhawan did not respond to the government’s communications because the state education minister had made comments about the Chancellor.

The bench took strong exception to the fact that higher education in the state was being made a mockery of and therefore suggested that the UGC constitute the search and selection committee.

On the submissions made by Advocate Joydeep Majumdar, who was appearing for one of the vice-chancellors in the case, the bench said, "We are not going to do anything with the present appointment for now. We will formulate a new search and selection committee to decide on the appointments."

The Raj Bhawan and the state secretariat had been at loggerheads earlier also over the Governor’s decision to appoint interim vice-chancellors for 11 other universities in West Bengal.