Supreme Court confirms governor’s power to appoint vice-chancellors in aided universities in Bengal

Yesterday’s Supreme Court verdict confirmed the governor’s authority in the dispute over who has the power to appoint vice-chancellors in state-aided universities in West Bengal. The Supreme Court also confirmed the judgment of Calcutta High Court on March 14, 2023 that the power is not with the government but with the Governor as the Chancellor.

The court issued an interim order on a petition filed by the government in the Supreme Court approving the decision taken by the governor to appoint six suitable persons from the list prescribed by the government in the universities where the post of VCs are lying vacant.

A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court had directed the governor and the chief minister to have a cup of coffee and try to resolve the problems in university administration.

Accordingly, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Dr. CV Ananda Bose met twice. Subsequently, the government submitted a list of 31 names to be considered for appointment as interim VCs to all state-aided universities. The Governor decided to select six names from that list.

Calcutta High Court Judgment dated 14 March, 2023 in WPA (P) 170 of 2022 with CAN 1 of 2022) is upheld by the Supreme Court judgment.

Calcutta High Court judgement of 28.06.2023 in WPA (P) 272 OF 2023: “…when the final decision is with the consultor, the manner, method and mode of consultation has to be left with the consultor”…… “This pool of names was considered by the Chancellor and a decision has been taken by the Hon’ble Chancellor to authorise two out of those 27 to perform the duties of the Vice Chancellors of two Universities and in respect of others the Hon’ble Chancellor has taken a decision which as an appointing authority is entitled to deal with the matter.”