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VB rapped

The Bench has directed the VC to abide by the observation in “letter and spirit”. Indeed, Justice Mantha has ordered the university administration to adopt what he calls a “pragmatic view” in reviewing the suspension in recent years of at least 70 teachers and staff

SNS | Kolkata |

The poet must be spinning in his grave. Tagore’s creation has been rapped on the knuckles by Calcutta High Court in the immediate aftermath of the “rustication” of three students and the somewhat unilateral closure of Visva-Bharati University… without the mandatory authorisation of the Centre, the overarching authority. Thursday’s order of the court (coram: Rajsekhar Mantha, J) has set aside the expulsion. Furthermore, the Vice-Chancellor, Bidyut Chakraborty, and the university administration have been directed to be more “inclusive”, indeed to avoid what the court has called “unnecessary confrontation”. It is pretty obvious that the court order is remarkably sweeping. Altogether, seldom has Visva-Bharati suffered so severe a setback in the court, one that is a reflection too on the performance of the VC. The order dwells on the conduct of the Vice-Chancellor and the university management ~ “Both should take a more convivial approach in dealing with the affairs of the university. Unnecessary confrontation should be avoided”. The Bench has directed the VC to abide by the observation in “letter and spirit”. Indeed, Justice Mantha has ordered the university administration to adopt what he calls a “pragmatic view” in reviewing the suspension in recent years of at least 70 teachers and staff. The court has conveyed the assurance that the suspension orders would be reviewed in accordance with the statute of the university. The subtext of the judiciary’s directive to Visva-Bharati must be that there is considerable murk that must of necessity be cleansed. It is a reflection too on the conduct of the university that the court has stumped the authorities with the perfectly rational observation that three students could not have caused “mayhem” on the campus. The university authorities have been generally muted in their response to the charge that “political parties and outsiders” are misusing educational institutions and the students could have been used “as a front to bring the institution to a standstill”. As regards Visva-Bharati, the High Court has hit the bull’s eye. The unplanned erection of walls, to bar outsiders, has made confusion worse confounded. And then the punchline ~ “It is sad to note that the noble cause of education has been slaughtered at the altar of politics and a political slugfest”. Denuded too is the security cover of the Vice-Chancellor. Overall, the legal indictment has been severely damning. It is now squarely up to those responsible for running the university to decide if they wish to return to the path of education, or seek fresh ways to create disruptions. The university’s theme song, Amader Santiniketan, sounds jarring in context, if not a mite hypocritical.