Govt issues ordinance on rejig of search panel for appointments of VCs

UGC Representation image [Photo:IANS]

The West Bengal government, by an ordinance issued on Monday, has made changes in the formation of search committees meant for appointment of Vice Chancellors in state universities.

However, the change has created a major controversy as in the new system, the state university, for which a Vice Chancellor will be appointed, will not have any representative in the search committee.

As per the ordinance, the five-member search committee will have one representative nominated by the Chief Minister, one by the state Education Department, one by the state Higher Education Council, one by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and one by the Governor, who by virtue of the post, is also the Chancellor of all state universities. In the existing system, there was a three-member search committee with one representative nominated by the state Education Department, one by the state university concerned and one by the Governor.


In fact, the existing system was also introduced by the current Trinamul Congress regime. In the previous Left Front regime in West Bengal, a three-member search committee had one representative of the UGC, one from the state university concerned and one nominated by the Governor.

That system continued for three years even after Trinamul came to power in West Bengal for the first time in 2011 bringing an end to the 27-year Left Front rule. However, in 2014 after Partha Chatterjee became the state Education Minister, he introduced the existing system which did not have any place for the UGC-nominated representative.

However, the Vice Chancellors, appointed by search committees without having an UGC representative, faced legal challenges in different courts and the appointments or re-appointments of Vice Chancellors were cancelled by the court. In the new system which will be in force henceforth following the ordinance issued by the state government on Monday, the state government has ensured that their nominated members have numerical supremacy in the search committees.

However, academic circles and opposition parties have questioned the justification of the state university authorities, for whom Vice Chancellors will be appointed, will not have any say in the appointment process.