Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Monday directed the West Bengal government to file an affidavit stating its position on a PIL challenging the reappointment of the Calcutta University’s vice-chancellor on the claim that it was done in contravention of rules.
Petitioner Anindya Sundar Das, a practising advocate at the high court and an alumnus of the university, claimed that vice-chancellor Sonali Chakravarty Banerjee was reappointed to the post in August, 2021, by the principal secretary of the state’s higher education department.
Lawyer Billwadal Bhattacharya, representing the petitioner, submitted before the court that the Governor of West Bengal, as the ex-officio chancellor, has the authority of appointing the vice-chancellor of the state-run university.
Opposing the petition, state’s Advocate General S N Mookherjee prayed for time to file affidavit in the matter.
Allowing the prayer, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice R Bharadwaj directed the state government to file an affidavit stating its position by March 22, when the matter will be taken up for hearing again.
Bhattacharya stated that the chancellor, during consultations over appointing a new vice-chancellor, had given the incumbent an extension for three months in 2021.
He claimed that the state government’s higher education department, however, gave Banerjee reappointment for a term of four years, in contravention of rules.
She had been appointed vice-chancellor of the prestigious university in 2017 by the then chancellor for a term of four years.
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