West Bengal likely to change law to replace governor as 'visitor' of private universities

The development comes amid the decision to make CM Mamata Banerjee the chancellor of state-run universities, replacing the governor.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata BanerjeeWest Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee

Press Trust of India | May 28, 2022 | 08:11 PM IST

KOLKATA: The West Bengal government is planning to amend the law to remove Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar as 'visitor' of private universities in the state and appoint the education minister in his place, a senior official said on Saturday. A discussion in this regard was held during Thursday's state cabinet meeting and the process has already been started, he said.

The development comes amid the state cabinet's decision to make chief minister Mamata Banerjee the chancellor of state-run universities, replacing the governor. "There is a proposal for altering the law so that the governor can be replaced by the education minister as the 'visitor' of private universities. In Thursday's Cabinet meeting, there was a discussion on this and the proposal was supported by the members," the official told PTI. "Hopefully, the next meeting will give its approval," he said, adding that the government will explore the legal options in this regard soon.

As per the West Bengal government's policy and guidelines for setting up private universities, the governor has to be appointed the 'visitor' and he can preside over the convocations. The 'visitor' also has the power to call for any paper or information relating to the affairs of the universities. The official said that the government was open to taking an ordinance route if the governor does not clear the proposed bill for making the chief minister the chancellor of state-run varsities. The governor, by virtue of his position, is the chancellor of all state-run universities.

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The decisions of the TMC government come amid a bitter turf war with the governor over several issues, including some relating to the running of universities. Dhankhar earlier alleged that vice-chancellors of 24 universities have been "appointed illegally without the chancellor's approval". After the vice-chancellors of the private universities skipped a meeting called by him in Raj Bhavan in December last year, he had hit out at the ruling dispensation in the state.

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