Bengal: SC refuses to stay V-C appointment

As the controversy over the appointment of Dr Amit Banerjee as the Vice-Chancellor of West Bengal University of Health Sciences reached the Supreme Court, the apex court last week refused to stay his appointment as the V-C.

Banerjee's appointment was finalised much before Mamata Banerjee's government took over in Bengal last year.

Last week, a three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, dismissed a plea by the varsity and the state government to pass an interim restraint order against Banerjee, who resumed office on October 29 following a Calcutta High Court order. "He has already resumed his office. We can understand your concern that he might have started taking decisions too, but we cannot pass any interim order at this stage. We are issuing notices and let the replies come first," said the Chief Justice while turning down a plea by advocate Jaideep Gupta for restraining Banerjee from acting as the V-C.

Gupta had expressed his apprehensions that Banerjee, after resuming office, could pass certain orders on issues that might get complicated if the petitions by the Bengal government and the varsity against his appointment succeeded in the SC.

The Bench, however, said that no interim directive could be given, and gave two weeks time to Banerjee and the Health Ministry to file counter affidavits. The matter will be taken up after four weeks.

The West Bengal University of Health Sciences and the state government have moved the SC against the HC's order to appoint Banerjee as the V-C. The Left Front government had appointed Banerjee as V-C in February 2011.

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