In an unprecedented move, President Ram Nath Kovind has overturned his decision on the appointment of a central university Vice-Chancellor (V-C), at the behest of the government. Kovind is learnt to have withdrawn his assent to appoint Swapan Kumar Dutta as the head of Visva Bharati University in Santiniketan — the President is its Visitor and the Prime Minister its Chancellor. He has also scrapped the panel of three finalists forwarded by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry last year.
The HRD Ministry had asked the President to reconsider his assent to Dutta’s appointment.
While the request to scrap a panel for the V-C’s post is not unusual, this was the first time such a proposal was received by the President’s office after the appointment of a candidate was already approved.
The government is learnt to have justified its stand on the ground that the finalists lack leadership skills. It’s unclear why the ministry forwarded the panel to the President, and waited until after a decision was taken to change its mind about the candidates.
About Visva-Bharati University
Visva Bharati is the only Central university with the Prime Minister as its Chancellor. The institution was founded by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and its alumni list includes filmmaker Satyajit Ray and economist Amartya Sen.
Visva-Bharati University is a public central government funded university located in Santiniketan, West Bengal. It was founded by Rabindranath Tagore who called it Visva-Bharati, which means the communion of the world with India.
Until independence it was a college. Soon after independence, in 1951, the institution was given the status of a university and was renamed Visva-Bharati University. The English daily, The Nation, notes, "Using the money he received with his Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, the school was expanded and renamed Visva-Bharati University