SC orders formation of committee for appointment of VCs in Bengal

Wednesday 10th July 2024 07:43 EDT

New Delhi: The Supreme Court ordered the constitution of a search and selection committee to resolve the impasse between the West Bengal government and Governor CV Ananda Bose over the appointment of vice-chancellors (VCs) of universities in the state.

A bench of justices Surya Kant and Ujjal Bhuyan ordered the committee’s formation within two weeks, noting that both the state and the office of the governor agreed on the constitution of the committee for appointing VCs in at least seven universities in West Bengal that functioned without full time VCs.

The committee will be headed by former Chief Justice of India Uday U Lalit, said the bench, adding it will comprise five members who will prepare a panel of three names, listed alphabetically, for each university’s VC appointment.

Leaving it to the former CJI to have separate or joint selection committees for the universities where VCs are to be appointed, the court directed that the entire selection process be completed in three months.

The committee’s recommendations, endorsed by the chairperson (justice Lalit), will be presented to the chief minister (CM).

“If the CM finds any candidate unsuitable, the supporting material and remarks will be forwarded to the chancellor (governor) within two weeks,” directed the bench.

According to the court order, the CM is entitled to recommend the shortlisted names in order of preference to the chancellor, who will appoint the VCs from the empanelled names as recommended by the former. Should the governor have reservations about the candidates or the CM’s remarks, the bench held, he may file his own opinion, supported by material and reasons. Once the governor approves the names, the state’s concerned department must notify the appointment within one week of receiving the approval.

The Court also stipulated that it would make the final decision if either party objects to the shortlisted names and the objections are not mutually resolved. The expenses of the committee will be borne by the state.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by the West Bengal government, challenging the June 2023 judgment of the Calcutta high court that had upheld the interim vice-chancellor appointments made by Governor Bose in 13 universities, in his capacity as the chancellor of the institutions.

comments powered by Disqus

to the free, weekly Asian Voice email newsletter