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The Court has asked the Executive Council to consider the issue afresh, after also hearing Mukhopadhyay's defence.
A Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court has directed the reconsideration of the decision to dismiss former Registrar of the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS), Dr Surajit Chandra Mukhopadhyay. In the meanwhile, the Court has also stayed the 2016 dismissal of the former registrar.
The order passed to this effect last week states,
In 2016, Mukhopadhyay was dismissed from his post after the Executive Council found his guilty of having mismanaged University funds. In July 2016, a single judge of the Calcutta High Court also rejected Mukhopadhyay's challenge to this decision and upheld his dismissal.
However, Division Bench of Justices IP Mukerji and Md. Nizamuddin has now found that there are reasons to reconsider the 2016 dismissal of Mukhopadhyay, in view of his defence that the decisions that had come into question were taken with the approval of the then Vice Chancellor, Dr. Ishwara Bhat and that he had not taken any independent decisions.
Further, Mukhopadhyay has also told the Division Bench that if he is given another opportunity, he would be able to absolve himself of all the charges made against him. Additionally, the Court took note that there is no appellate authority to present Mukhopadhyay's appeal against the decision to dismiss him in 2016. In this backdrop, the Bench also opined that,
"Our desire to have the decision reconsidered has become more pronounced by learning that there is a new executive council now after reconstitution."
The Court has, therefore, directed the new Executive Council to consider the enquiry report into the allegations against Mukhopadhyay afresh, and to provide him an opportunity to present his case either in person or through his counsel. No timeline has been set for the counsel to make its decision in the matter, although the Court has directed that the decision be arrived "according to the earliest convenience of the council."
The Court has noted that it is open to the Executive Council "to revoke its decision of 18th June, 2016 and substitute it by a new decision or affirm its said earlier decision."
The Court also added that should not affect the dismissal order of the charged officer. Further that, "This issue will abide by the result of the decision of the council."
[Read the Order]