West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar is not authorised to call any meeting of vice-chancellors of state universities, the higher education department said in a letter to the Raj Bhavan on Thursday.
Dhankhar, who is also the chancellor of state universities, had on Wednesday taken to Twitter to say that it was "unfortunate" that vice-chancellors chose to stay away from a virtual meeting, which he had convened to discuss the problems faced by the students owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a press meet on Thursday, he also said that the education system in West Bengal is "politically caged", and the "unwholesome situation was created by the state government".
The department, however, asserted that Dhankhar does not have the right to call a meeting of vice-chancellors, as the West Bengal State Universities Rules of 2019 does not provide for any such provision.
In a strongly worded letter addressed to the officer on special duty of Dhankhar, the special secretary of the department maintained that the rules mandate "every communication proposed to be made by the chancellor to any state-aided university will have to be routed through the higher education department."
"I am further directed to mention that the government is surprised to see this tweet, because it has not endorsed any plan for any such video conference between the hon'ble Chancellor and the Vice Chancellors," the department said.
Drawing Dhankhar's attention to section 8 (5) of the West Bengal State Universities Rules 2019, the letter said, "It is respectfully submitted that the aforesaid course of conduct by the chancellor is beyond jurisdiction and contrary to specific statutory and delegated legislative provisions."
The governor had said on Wednesday that the new legislation that forbids him from convening a vice-chancellors' meeting "does not have any legal validity".