Calcutta HC to hear PIL against Calcutta University's decision to award honorary degree to Mamata Banerjee today

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a petition against Calcutta University's decision to award an honorary DLitt degree to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, according to media reports.

File image of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Twitter@MamataOfficial

File image of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Twitter@MamataOfficial

The petition filed by Abu Taleb and Ranjugopal Mukherjee appeared in the division bench headed by acting Chief Justice Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya, after which the petitioners were asked to file the matter as a public interest litigation (PIL), News18 reported.

The petitioners argued that Calcutta University is a state-funded institution, and hence will suffer a "credibility loss" if it confers the degree upon the highest executive authority of the state, the report said.

The court has decided to hear the matter on Wednesday and Thursday, according to Deccan Herald. The university is scheduled to confer the degree on Mamata on 11 January.

On 25 October 2017, vice-chancellor Sonali Chakraborty Bandopadhyay had announced the institution's decision to confer the honorary degree, the report said. "It was decided during the senate-syndicate meeting that a DLitt degree will be conferred on Mamata Banerjee for her literary and social work," Bandopadhyay said.

The petitioners also argued that doubts have already been raised in the public domain over academic credentials of Mamata, including her "PhD degree", which she herself refrains from using, Zee News reported.

"We have filed a PIL challenging the decision of the university on several grounds of her (Mamata's) ineligibility, which we will place before the high court during the hearing," the report quoted advocate Shamim Ahmed as saying. "The members of the university senate are appointed by the state government, which is headed by Banerjee. The same people have decided to honour the chief minister with the honorary DLitt."

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Updated Date: Jan 10, 2018 09:06:26 IST

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