Bengal govt to curtail Governor’s powers as chancellor of state univs

Jagdeep Dhankhar
For the governor's alleged political activism, the TMC often accuses him of converting the Raj Bhavan into an extended party office of the BJP | PTI File

Universities in West Bengal will have the power to call meetings of their highest decision making bodies without consulting the state’s governor, their chancellor, if a “rule” tabled by the TMC government on Tuesday (December 10) is endorsed by the state assembly.

The move comes amid a running feud between Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who have quarrelled over a host of issues in the last few months. Dhankhar had recently alleged he was not consulted about important decisions that were taken by authorities of various state universities.

“Every communication proposed to be made by the Chancellor to any state-aided university shall be routed through the (higher education) department,” the document tabled by the government in the assembly said.

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It said now the vice-chancellors will be free to call meetings of the highest decision making bodies of their universities in consultation with the higher education department and not the chancellor that was hitherto the practice.

When reached for comments, Higher Education Minister Partha Chatterjee told reporters that the new rule will 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.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has repeatedly accused the governor of trying to run a “parallel government” in the state.

(With PTI inputs)

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