Earlier on Oct 25 previous year, following a meeting of the university's Senate-Syndicate, CU's Vice-Chancellor (VC), Sonali Chakraborty Banerjee, announced to award Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with honourary D.Litt degree during the prestigious institute's convocation in south Kolkata's Nazrul Mancha. Mamata, an alumnus of the university, was recognised for her work in social service.
Speaking at the convocation ceremony, Banerjee said, "Intolerance is rising in the country. India has a diversity of origin and we should respect that".
According to the PIL, the decision of the syndicate and senate of the CU to confer the Trinamul Congress supremo with a D.Litt was arbitrary and lacks logic.
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The petitioners argued that Calcutta University is a state-funded institution, and hence will suffer a "credibility loss" if it confers the degree upon the highest executive authority of the state, the report said.
The University of Calcutta will wait to see if the court passes any interim order restraining it from conferring the degree so as to avoid embarrassment, said a key official, who asked not to be named. The chief minister has also consented to receive the honour during the varsity's annual convocation.
Significantly the CU will confer the honour to the chief minister the next day at Nazrul Mancha in south Kolkata.
Appearing for the university, counsel Saktinath Mukherjee submitted that the petition lacked "justifiability" and should be rejected at the outset.