Kolkata: Even as Jadavpur University students on Monday went euphoric over the news of vice chancellor Abhijit Chakrabarti resigning, questions were being raised over the legality of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announcing the stepping down.
Ending months' long standoff between students and the administration, Banerjee visited a section of students on an indefinite hunger strike pressing for Chakrabarti's resignation and announced: "Vice chancellor of Jadavpur University has been asked to step down. He has forwarded his resignation letter."
However, Left Front chairman Biman Bose as well as several former vice chancellors have questioned Banerjee's authority to announce the resignation of Chakrabarti.
"The chief minister is not the one who can appoint a VC so how can she announce his resignation? The one authorized to make that is the chancellor and the state's governor," Bose said.
"By making the announcement Banerjee has proved that the ruling Trinamool Congress has established an extensive partycracy on educational institutions and looks upon the VCs as servants of the party. A political party cannot decide the resignation of a VC," added Bose.
Echoing similar views, former principal of the now Presidency University Amal Mukhopadhyay said: "The chief minister has attacked the autonomy of the university by making the announcement. She is not the one who has appointed him, how can she take a call on his resignation".
Former Jadavpur vice chancellor Ashok Nath Basu too questioned Banerjee's authority to make the announcement although he said the decision of Chakrabarti's removal should have been made a lot earlier.
"The decision should have been made lot earlier. It has come very late , the atmosphere of the university has already been vitiated. Moreover, the chief minister has set a wrong precedent by making an announcement which she is not legally allowed," said Basu.
A vast majority of the students backed by a section of teachers, had been clamouring for the removal of Chakrabarti following the September 17 police crackdown on a sit-in by students demanding an independent investigation into an alleged molestation in August.
Governor and university chancellor K.N. Tripathi, Saturday had cautioned Chakrabarti for delaying action in the alleged molestation and directed him to act immediately.