West Bengal to introduce bill to make CM the chancellor of state-run varsities
The West Bengal cabinet on Thursday approved a proposal to make the chief minister the chancellor of state-run universities, in an apparent bid to clip the wings of the governor on the matter.
Education Minister Bratya Basu, while briefing journalists after the cabinet meeting held at state secretariat, said the proposal would soon be introduced in the state assembly in the form of a bill.
"Today, the state cabinet gave its consent to the proposal to make the chief minister the chancellor of all state-run universities in place of the governor. This proposal will soon be introduced as a bill in the assembly," Basu said.
The governor is at present the ex-officio chancellor of 17 state-run universities in the state.
The Raj Bhavan remained silent on the state government's decision and calls to Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar went unanswered.
Dhankhar has been at loggerheads with the Mamata Banerjee government in the state on several issues since assuming charge as the governor in July 2019.
In December last year, the governor had expressed anguish over chancellors and vice-chancellors of private universities not attending a meeting called by him at his official residence. They had expressed inability to attend the meeting citing the COVID-19 situation.
Dhankhar had faced a similar situation in January 2020 when vice-chancellors of state-run universities were invited for a meeting.
He had alleged that the state government was making appointments to the vice-chancellor post in various universities without consulting the chancellor, and he is being forced to take strong view of such developments.
Dhankhar had then said that there was a need to revisit all the appointments and called for focus on improving the educational environment in the state.
The West Bengal cabinet's decision was based on a recommendation made by the Punchhi Commission in 2010 that the convention of appointing governors as chancellors of universities be stopped.
The Tamil Nadu and Kerala governments have already adopted the recommendation made by the committee on Centre-state relations headed by Justice Madan Mohan Punchhi, former chief justice of India.