West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday was honoured with a Doctorate of Literature (D.Litt.) degree by the Calcutta University during its convocation ceremony at the Nazrul Mancha auditorium in south Kolkata, reported news agency ANI. Banerjee, an alumnus of the university, was recognised for her social service.
Speaking at the convocation ceremony, Banerjee said, “Intolerance is rising in the country. History should not be distorted. India has diversity of origin and we should respect that.”
A petition in the Calcutta High Court this week, filed by Ranjugopal Mukherjee, formerly a professor of the university had challenged the university’s decision. In his plea, Mukherjee claimed it was arbitrary and devoid of any proper reasoning, reported PTI. He also claimed that no incumbent chief minister has been conferred the award. “We have filed a PIL, challenging the decision of the university on several grounds of her ineligibility which we will place before the high court during the hearing,” his lawyer Shamim Ahmed said.
“The members of the university senate are appointed by the state government, which is headed by Banerjee. The same people have decided to honour the chief minister with the honorary D.Litt,” Ahmed added, reported PTI.
During the hearing yesterday in court, the West Bengal government argued that the petition was “politically motivated,” and that it did not amount to public interest. Advocate General Kishore Dutta said the plea was “out and out in political interest,” and that “except character assassination, nothing is there,” reported PTI.
(With inputs from agencies)