KOLKATA: The Calcutta High Court will on Wednesday begin its hearing on a PIL filed against challenging the Calcutta University’s (CU) decision to honour West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with a D.Litt degree.
The University had announced that it will bestow the honorary degree on the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief, an alumnus, for her contribution to social service at its convocation on January 11.
The PIL has been filed by two individuals, Abu Taleb and Ranjugopal Mukherjee. The high court on Tuesday decided to treat the case as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL).
In their petition, the petitioners have argued that Calcutta University is a state-funded institution and will suffer a "credibility loss" if it confers the degree upon the highest executive authority of the state.
Petitioners also argue that serious doubts have already been raised in public domain over academic credentials of Mamata Banerjee including her so-called "Ph.D. Degree" which she herself refrains from using.
The petition claimed that the decision of the syndicate and senate of the university to honour Banerjee with a D.Litt was arbitrary and devoid of any proper reasoning.
Lawyer Shamim Ahmed said, "We have filed a PIL, challenging the decision of the university on several grounds of her ineligibility which we will place before the high court during the hearing."
"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 D.Litt," Ahmed claimed.
The convocation will be held at the Nazrul Mancha auditorium in south Kolkata, instead of the institution's own Centenary Hall on its College Street campus.