Land issue: Visva Bharati issues notice to Amartya Sen asking why he should not be evicted
The noted economist was asked to reply to the notice by March 24 and appear before Jt. Registrar of the varsity, personally or through a representative, by March 29 along with supporting evidence
Visva-Bharati university has issued a notice to Nobel laureate Amartya Sen asking him to show cause why an eviction order will not be issued against him for not vacating a 13 decimal plot he is allegedly occupying illegally.
The noted economist was asked to reply to the notice by March 24 and appear before Ashok Mahato, the Joint Registrar and Estate Officer of the central university, personally or through a representative by March 29 along with evidence in support of Sen's assertion that he is not occupying any plot unauthorisedly.
"In case you and your authorised representative fail to appear on the said date, the case may be decided ex-parte," the notice said.
The 89-year-old Sen, who is now abroad, or his family members could not be contacted for reaction.
The university has been claiming that Sen is in possession of 1.38 acres of land on the Santiniketan campus, which is in excess of his legal entitlement of 1.25 acres.
The economist has earlier asserted that most of the land he is holding in the Santiniketan campus was purchased from the market by his father while some other plots were taken on lease.
"I hereby call upon you to show cause on or before March 24, 2023, why an order of eviction should not be made against you...," the estate officer said in the notice dated March 17, a copy of which was made available to the media on Sunday.
Visva-Bharati had in the past two months sent three other missives to him reiterating that he has been occupying public premises illegally.
"I call upon you to appear before me in person or through a duly authorised representative capable to answer all material questions connected with the matter, along with the evidence which you intend to produce in support of cause shown, on March 29, 2023, at 4:45 pm for a personal hearing," Mahato said in the university's latest communication.
Visva-Bharati spokesperson Mahua Banerjee claimed that Sen neither responded to any of the earlier letters sent by the university nor took any follow-up action, prompting it to send this notice.
"We have no problem if he deputes someone, but we hope he will be responding to the notice this time," she said.
Banerjee said Visva-Bharati is not treating Sen's issue separately from other such land occupation cases and steps are being initiated to free all illegally occupied plots.
There have been allegations from certain quarters that the university's actions may be politically motivated given the fact that Sen has been critical of many policies of the present central government.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had come out in support of the economist and handed over land-related documents to the octogenarian during a visit to his residence in Birbhum district in January when he was at Santiniketan.
Visva-Bharati sent two letters on this issue within three days to Sen in January.