Calcutta University's decision to confer honorary DLitt to Mamata Banerjee uncertain

PIL in Calcutta HC against CU's decision to award Mamata Banerjee with D.Litt

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday was given a honorary D.Litt degree by Calcutta University even when the Calcutta High Court is hearing whether to accept a suit by a former educationalist challenging the decision of the university senate to confer the honorary degree to her.

The Calcutta University (CU) had chose to honour the chief minister with the prestigious degree in literature for her contribution in social welfare and literature at its highest decision making body meeting- syndicate, on October 26, 2017. "Today, I am again appealing for resistance to distorting history", Banerjee said at the varsity's convocation ceremony. On October 25 CU vice chancellor Sonali Chakraborti announced the D.Lit to be conferred to Ms Banerjee for her contribution in the field of arts, literature and social work.

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"India has diversity of origin and we should respect that", she added.

His counsel Bikas Bhattacharya submitted that university issues and education itself are of public interest and as such the petition was justified to be a PIL.

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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. The university is scheduled to confer the degree on Mamata on 11 January.

The chief minister not only received the degree but also gave out many other awards for students and other experts including former governor of West Bengal, M.K. Narayan, while the chancellor looked on. Advocate General Kishore Dutta said the plea was "out and out in political interest", and that "except character assassination, nothing is there", reported PTI.

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