Indian Polity & Constitution
In News: The West Bengal government’s decision to make the Chief Minister the Chancellor of State-run universities, instead of the Governor has refocused the attention on the Governor’s Role in Universities
- The area of conflict here are the appointment of Vice-Chancellors and the functioning of universities
- VCs were appointed by the Chancellor of the universities
- Tamil Nadu recently passed Bills to empower the State government, instead of the Chancellor, to appoint VCs.
- It also passed a separate bill to establish a new university for alternative systems of medicine with the Chief Minister as its Chancellor.
- In Kerala, the situation is different, with Governor asking the Chief Minister to take over the Chancellor’s role in the light of alleged political interference in the functioning of universities.
These developments underscore that the conferment of statutory roles to Governors may be a source of friction between elected regimes and Governors who are seen as agents of the Centre
Governor’s role in:
- In most cases, the Governor of the state is the ex-officio chancellor of the universities in that state.
- While the Governor’s powers and functions as the Chancellor are laid out in the statutes that govern the universities under a particular state government.
- Their role in appointing the Vice-Chancellors has often triggered disputes with the political executive.
- Under the Central Universities Act, 2009, and other statutes, the President of India shall be the Visitor of a central university.
- Chancellors are appointed by the President in his capacity as Visitors.
- They are titular heads with their role limited to presiding over convocations in central universities.
- The VCs too are appointed by the Visitor from panels of names picked by search and selection committees formed by the Union government.
- The President, as Visitor, shall have the right to authorize inspections of academic and non-academic aspects of the universities and also to institute inquiries
The original intent of making Governors hold the office of Chancellor and vesting some statutory powers on them was to insulate universities from political influence
- Justice R.S. Sarkaria Commission noted the use of discretion by some Governors in some university appointments had come in for criticism.
- It acknowledged the distinction between the Governor’s constitutional role and the statutory role performed as a Chancellor, and also underlined that the Chancellor is not obliged to seek the government’s advice.
M.M. Punchhi Commission
- Noted that Governor should not be “burdened with positions and powers, which may expose the office to controversies or public criticism, it advised against conferring statutory powers on the Governor, it advised against conferring statutory powers on the Governor.
Previous Year Questions
Q.1) Consider the following statements: (2016)
- No criminal proceedings shall be instituted against the Governor of a State in any court during his term of office.
- The emoluments and allowances of the Governor of a State shall not be diminished during his term of office.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Source: The Hindu
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