No parameters or criteria available before the Court by applying which the prudence of such decision can be assessed or evaluated, the Bench said.
The Calcutta High Court has dismissed a public interest litigation filed against Calcutta University (CU) decision to confer the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature to Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee.
The PIL filed by former Vice-Chancellor of the Calcutta University Ranju Gopal Mukherjee was dismissed by the bench of Acting Chief Justice Jyoritmay Bhattacharya and Justice Arijit Banerjee, mainly on the ground that the issue raised is not justiciable. It was argued that the public interest involved is that every student/ex-student of CU will feel disturbed if an honorary degree is conferred on an underserving candidate. There is no basis or reason for honouring the[m]. Their credentials are dubious and they do not deserve to be honoured in the manner proposed by the University, the petitioner submitted.
The bench observed that the Parliament has in its wisdom not stipulated or prescribed any guidelines on the basis whereof the university may take a decision for conferring an honorary degree on a particular person and the entire thing has been left to the discretion of the Syndicate and the Senate.
The Syndicate and the Senate are both expert bodies consisting of academicians from various fields. The decision of such expert bodies to honour a particular person by way of conferment of an honorary degree or other academic distinction, in our view, cannot be subjected to judicial review, inter alia, because no judicially manageable standard is available to the Court according to which the Court can decide the wisdom or otherwise of such a decision, the bench observed.
The court also observed that it cannot sit in judgment over such a decision of the Syndicate/Senate as there is no objective standard on the basis whereof the court can do so and there no parameters or criteria available before the court by applying which the prudence of such decision can be assessed or evaluated.
The PIL was also dismissed on the ground that members of the senate and syndicate were not impleaded as parties in the writ petition, even though allegations of nepotism etc. have been made against them.