Bengal: Cabinet approves proposal making Mamata chancellor of state universities
West Bengal will soon have new guidelines for the selection of chancellors of all government-run Universities. The West Bengal cabinet has approved a plan to remove the Governor as a Visitor to private universities, which is seen as a significant development. Following this, the Cabinet also approved the proposal to make the Chief Minister the Chancellor of the universities.
If the bill is passed, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will take over as Chancellor of State Universities, rather than the Governor. Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar was removed as Visitor to Private Universities and Chancellor of State-run Universities by the state administration a few days ago. Currently, the Bill requires the Governor's approval before it can be enacted and become law.
Although the grounds for the action remain unknown, speculations claim that it is related to an apparent feud between the Banerjee-led government and Governor Dhankhar over the appointment of Vice-Chancellors at universities across the state. According to reports, the schism began when Dhankhar claimed that the government had selected vice-chancellors of 24 universities without his permission.
A Chancellor of a university is the prime decision maker in the appointment of Vice-Chancellor, among other duties. Rules suggest that the 'visitor' can also demand any paper or information related to the internal matters of the universities. Under the current law, the Governor is the Chancellor of all state-run universities and not the Chief Minister.
Before West Bengal Cabinet approved the proposal to have Chief Minister the Chancellor and not the Governor, West Bengal Minister Bratya Basu made the announcement that the said proposal is expected to be taken to the Assembly so that certain acts can be amended.