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Appointment of Vice-Chancellors


A tussle between the Chief Minister of West Bengal and Governor came to the fore over the appointment of 10 senior professors as interim Vice-Chancellors (VC) of state-run universities.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Role of Governor (Chancellor) in State Universities
  2. Role of President (Visitor) in Central Universities
  3. Hierarchy of Laws
  4. What is the Role of Vice-Chancellor

Role of Governor (Chancellor) in State Universities:

  • Ex-officio Chancellor: The Governor of the state serves as the ex-officio chancellor of the universities in that state.
  • Independent Decision-making: While functioning as the Chancellor, the Governor acts independently of the Council of Ministers and takes decisions on all university matters. In this role, the Governor has the authority to make decisions related to appointments, administration, and overall functioning of the universities.
  • Appointment of Vice Chancellor: The Governor (Chancellor) appoints the Vice Chancellor of the university from a panel of three to five names recommended by the Search cum Selection Committee. The Vice Chancellor is the academic and administrative head of the university.

Role of President (Visitor) in Central Universities:

  • Visitor of Central Universities: The President of India is designated as the Visitor of central universities.
  • Titular Head: The role of the President (Visitor) in central universities is more ceremonial or titular in nature. The President presides over convocations and represents the highest authority in the university.
  • Appointment of Vice Chancellor: The President (Visitor) appoints the Vice Chancellor of the central university from panels of names recommended by search and selection committees formed by the Union government. The Visitor has the power to seek a fresh panel of names if dissatisfied with the initial recommendations.
  • Authority to Inspect and Inquire: The President (Visitor) has the right to authorize inspections of academic and non-academic aspects of the universities and institute inquiries.

Hierarchy of Laws:

  • UGC Regulations vs. State University Act: In case of a conflict between the University Grants Commission (UGC) Regulations and the State University Act, the UGC Regulations prevail to the extent that state legislation is repugnant. This ensures uniformity and adherence to national guidelines.
  • Parliament vs. State Law: According to Article 254(1) of the Indian Constitution, if a provision in a state law is contradictory to a provision made by the Parliament or an existing law regarding any matter in the Concurrent List, the law made by the Parliament takes precedence over the state law.

What is the Role of Vice-Chancellor?

The Vice-Chancellor (VC) holds a significant position in a university and has a range of roles and responsibilities. Here are some key aspects of the Vice-Chancellor’s role:

Principal Academic and Executive Officer:

  • The Vice-Chancellor is considered the principal academic and executive officer of the university.
  • They play a crucial role in overseeing and managing the overall functioning of the university, both in academic and administrative matters.

Bridge between Executive and Academic Wing:

  • The Vice-Chancellor acts as a bridge between the executive/administrative wing and the academic wing of the university.
  • They facilitate communication, coordination, and collaboration between these two areas to ensure effective operations and the achievement of the university’s goals.

Upholding Values and Integrity:

  • The Vice-Chancellor is expected to possess values, personality characteristics, and integrity in addition to academic excellence and administrative experience.
  • They play a pivotal role in upholding the values and ethical standards of the university and promoting a culture of integrity, transparency, and accountability.

Chairing Various Committees:

  • The Vice-Chancellor serves as the ex-officio Chairman of several important committees within the university, including the Court, Executive Council, Academic Council, Finance Committee, and Selection Committees.
  • They provide leadership and guidance in the decision-making processes of these bodies.


  • In the absence of the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor presides over convocations of the university where degrees are conferred.
  • They represent the university and confer degrees to graduating students.

Ensuring Compliance:

  • The Vice-Chancellor has the responsibility to ensure that the provisions of the university’s governing documents such as the Act, Statutes, Ordinances, and Regulations are fully observed.
  • They have the necessary power and authority to discharge this duty effectively.

Maintaining Quality and Relevance:

  • The Vice-Chancellor plays a crucial role in maintaining the quality and relevance of the university’s academic programs and research activities.
  • They implement necessary changes and improvements based on recommendations from various committees and commissions, keeping in view the evolving needs and demands of higher education.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023