The high court on Thursday directed the government to reinstate Amit Bandyopadhyay as vice-chancellor of the West Bengal University of Health Sciences on the grounds that the decision to remove him was not endorsed by the institution's executive council.
The Mamata Banerjee government had removed Bandyopadhyay from the post soon after coming to power ' "without assigning any reason", as submitted by his lawyer.
S. Majumdar succeeded Bandyopadhyay, who had been appointed as VC in 2009.
The division bench of Chief Justice J.N. Patel and Justice Sambuddha Chakrabarti, which ordered Bandyopadhyay's reinstatement following his appeal, stayed the ruling for 28 days.
"The state authorities can move the apex court against the order in the meantime," the division bench said.
The order by the division bench overturns a ruling by a single bench that went in favour of the government.
Appearing for Bandyopadhyay, advocate Aniruddha Chatterjee submitted before the division bench that the registrar of the university had in June last year told his client shortly before he was removed that his "joining is not acceptable".
The lawyer pointed out that the executive council of the university had not endorsed any decision to remove his client from the post. "According to the rule, such decisions have to be approved by the executive council."
Kalyan Banerjee, who represented the state, opposed Chatterjee's submission, stating: "The state can take such a decision for the betterment of health science. The new government took several decisions. It (removing Bandyopadhyay from the VC's post) was one of them. The court should not interfere in the administrative decisions of the government."
After hearing both sides, the court observed that the executive council of the university should have taken the decision and ordered the government to reinstate the petitioner. The bench also asked the government to pay all dues, including salaries, to Bandyopadhyay.
"This government believed that Bandyopadhyay was appointed to the post because of his so-called proximity to the CPM. So after coming to power, the Trinamul government made no delay in removing him," a lawyer on the government panel told Metro.