Visva-Bharati to take possession of land from Amartya Sen on May 6 | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Visva-Bharati to take possession of land from Amartya Sen on May 6

Apr 20, 2023 04:22 PM IST

Visva-Bharati vice-chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty has claimed Sen’s father rented only 1.25-acre land on a 99-year lease in 1943 and .13 decimal land should be returned

Visva-Bharati has issued an eviction order to Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen saying the central university will take possession of 13 decimal of the 1.38-acre leased land from his ancestral property on its campus at Santiniketan in West Bengal on May 6.

Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen. (PTI)
Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen. (PTI)

The order, a copy of which HT has seen, accusing Sen of occupying public land was issued on Wednesday under the Public Premises (Eviction and Unauthorised Occupants) Act. Sen, 89, is in the US and usually visits his ancestral home in Santiniketan in winter.

“There are directives/advisories from the Gov’t of India/West Bengal, reports of the expert committees on security and maintenance of assets of Visva-Bharati, and the CAG’s audit observations regarding the necessity and urgency of removing unauthorized occupation or encroachment from the public premises of Visva-Bharati,” the order said.

“Now, the question is which portion covering .13 decimals area in the scheduled public premises may be recovered from Sri Sen.”

The notice said Visva-Bharati owns plots on the west and east sides of the premises. “On the southern side, Sri Sen and his family own their private lands. Sri Sen could have participated in joint survey/hearing, etc., and indicate his choice.”

It cited the absence of such choice and study of survey reports and access to Sen’s ancestral house and said it has been decided that .13 decimals of land are to be recovered.

Visva-Bharati vice-chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty has claimed Sen’s father, Ashutosh Sen, a professor at the university, rented only a 1.25-acre land on a 99-year lease in 1943 and thus the 13-decimal land should be returned.

Three letters have been sent to Sen in this regard since January 24. The first eviction notice was issued to him on March 17. Sen sent his lawyers to the university hearings. He returned to the US in February.

Visva-Bharati officials did not comment on the fresh eviction notice.

Gora Chand Chakrabarty, Sen’s lawyer, said he was indisposed and does not know about the fresh notice. “I did not receive any e-mail from Visva-Bharati till Wednesday night.”

On January 30, chief minister Mamata Banerjee met Sen, who has been a critic of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government, and handed over a state land and revenue department record showing that all land covered under his property belong to him through a mutation executed in 2006. Visva-Bharati challenged the document.

In an earlier notice, the university said it has come to the understanding that Sen does not want to face an inquiry and that no further opportunity for showing cause or attending a personal hearing shall be allowed.

Sen sent an e-mail to Visva-Bharati on April 17 saying the university’s claim on part of the leased land has no legal standing. “I am the holder of the land, and it was passed on to me after the death of my parents, Ashutosh Sen and Amita Sen. They also purchased other land in close proximity to the leased land.”

He added the use of the land has remained the same for over 80 years. “Any contrary claim to this leased land before the expiry of the lease cannot stand,” Sen wrote. He added he would visit Santiniketan in June.

Chakrabarty said that based on his client’s appeal, a magistrate issued an order asking police to maintain peace and tranquillity at Pratichi, Sen’s ancestral home. “That order is still valid.”

Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore founded the university in 1921 and the Prime Minister is its chancellor.

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