Amid growing feud with Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, the TMC government in West Bengal has curbed his power as chancellor of state universities. As per the latest notification of the state Education Department, the state-run and aided universities in West Bengal will have the power to call meetings of their highest decision-making bodies without consulting the chancellor or here the Governor of the state. Moreover, all the communication between vice-chancellor and chancellor has to be routed through the state Education Department.
Governor Dhankhar had recently alleged that he was not consulted about important decisions that were taken by authorities of various state universities. His feud with the state government began after he rushed to Jadavpur University to rescue Union minister Babul Supriyo who was gheraoed by students. Recently, the Governor had visited Calcutta University only to find the Vice-Chancellor and Registrar absent and their offices locked.
According to the proposed rules — West Bengal State Universities and Colleges (Administration and Regulation) Rules, 2019 — all communication Mamata govt clips Governor’s powers as varsities’ chancellor from vice-chancellor to the chancellor and vice-versa should be routed through the state education department. Earlier, the chancellor could directly communicate with the vice-chancellor, send requests or orders or advise to the university.
Moreover, the new rules state that any senate or executive meeting of the universities will have to be intimated to the state education department. Earlier, the university authorities had to inform the chancellor and get his assent before calling any senate or executive committee meeting.
In choosing a vice-chancellor, the new rules have limited the chancellor’s option. Earlier, the select committee would send the chancellor three names and he or she who would chose one among them. As per the new rules, the chancellor has to maintain the order of preference of three names. In other words, the chancellor has to choose the first of the three names.
Higher Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said that that the new rules would in no way infringe on the rights of the chancellor as his department was already vested with powers to take important decisions with regard to universities. “What is defined in the rules is what was needed to be defined,” said Chatterjee.