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EX-CJI UU Lalit to Head the Committee on Appointment of VC in Bengal

Utkarsh Classes Last Updated 09-07-2024
EX-CJI UU Lalit to Head the Committee on Appointment of VC in Bengal Supreme Court 5 min read

The Supreme Court has appointed the former Chief Justice of India, Uday Umesh Lalit, as the chairman of the search and selection committee for the appointment of vice-chancellor in all the state-run universities of West Bengal. A division bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice K V Vishwanatahn passed this order on 9 July 2024.

The two-judge bench passed the order on a special leave petition filed by the West Bengal government under Article 138 of the constitution.

The state government petition challenged the Calcutta High Court order of 28 June 2023, which said there was no illegality in the appointment of 13 state-run university vice-chancellors by the state governor, C V Ananda Bose. The Governor is the Chancellor of the state universities in West Bengal.

Six-member Search and Selection Committee 

  • The two-judge division bench observed that both the office of the governor of West Bengal and the state government have agreed to form the search and selection committee. The bench ordered the constitution of a six-member committee within two weeks. 
  • The committee will prepare a panel of three names in alphabetical order to be appointed as the vice-chancellor at each state-run university. 
  • The names of the people recommended for the vice chancellor post will be put before the Chief Minister. 
  • The Chief Minister can reject the name forwarded by the committee if it feels that they are unsuitable for the post and suggest other names to the Chancellor of the University(state Governor).
  • If the Chancellor agrees with the name, the person must be appointed vice chancellor within one week of the Chancellor's approval.
  • If the Chancellor of the state-run universities (state Governor) and the Chief Minister disagree on any names, that person's name will be put before the Supreme Court, which will be the final authority on the matter.

Background to the case 

  •  In 2022, the Calcutta High Court ruled that the West Bengal University Amendment Act 2018 was contrary to the UGC guidelines of 2018 and, hence, illegal. 
  • All the vice-chancellor appointments made under the act were held illegal. This led to the resignation of the vice-chancellors in the state.
  • The state government issued the West Bengal University (amendment ) ordinance 2019 to comply with the UGC guidelines.
  • The state higher education ministry submitted 27 names to the governor for appointment as interim vice chancellor candidates. 
  • The Governor accepted only two names and rejected others, saying that they were the ruling party's nominees and that they would destroy the state education system. 
  • The governor appointed 13 interim vice chancellors without consulting the state government. 
  • The state government challenged the governor's act in the Calcutta High Court. The High Court, in its 28 June 2023 ruling, upheld the Governor's power to appoint the interim vice-chancellor. The state government challenged the High Court ruling in the Supreme Court on which the court gave its judgement today.

Why did the Governor refuse? 

The relationship between West Bengal Governor C V Ananda Bose and Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee is very bad, and they are always at loggerheads.

Even the Supreme Court initially suggested that the Governor sit with the CM “over a cup of coffee” to resolve the deadlock.


Answer: Former Chief Justice of India Uday Umesh Lalit.

Answer: Justice Uday Umesh Lalit

Answer: C.V.Ananda Bose

Answer: Mamata Banerjee
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