PIL challenging D.Litt to CM dismissed: Calcutta High Court


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A division bench dismissed the PIL and observed that no public interest was harmed because of the decision.

Calcutta High Court

Kolkata: The Calcutta high court on Thursday dismissed a PIL challenging the Calcutta University’s decision to confer D.Litt. on West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice J. Bhattacharya and Justice A. Banerjee dismissed the PIL and observed that no public interest was harmed because of the decision.

Ms Banerjee was conferred the D.Litt. degree at the university’s convocation ceremony on January 11.

The court also noted that necessary parties had not been added in the petition.

The petitioner alleged that the members of the university’s senate had erred in its decision, but none of them were made a party in the plea, the division bench said.

During hearings in the case, earlier this month, state advocate-general Kishore Datta had questioned the maintainability of the petition, claiming that it was politically motivated and aimed at garnering media attention.

Saktinath Mukherjee, the CU counsel, had stated that the petition was not justifiable and that it should be rejected forthwith as the university senate’s decision to grant the degree to Ms Banerjee has not caused any injury to public interest.

In his submission, Mukherjee claimed that the Calcutta University senate was the final authority in deciding who would be an awardee and that anybody else was an outsider with no authority to challenge the decision.

He said before the court that the achievements and eminence of a person were reasons enough for being chosen for the award.

Petitioner Ranjugopal Mukherjee, a former professor of the CU, had contended that the decision of the syndicate or senate did not attribute any reason for conferring D.Litt. on Banerjee and that it was “arbitrary and opaque”.

Claiming that senate members were nominated by the state, his counsel Bikash Bhattacharya had submitted that in this case, “the nominated persons are nominating the nominator.”