Nobel laureate Amartya Sen moved the Calcutta High Court, appealing against a notice of the Visva-Bharati university that asked him to vacate 13 decimal of land at his Santiniketan residence by May 6.
The central varsity, which claimed that the 13 decimal of land is under the “illegal occupation” of Sen, said that it would evict the economist if he fails to vacate it within the deadline.
The matter will be heard by a bench of Justice Bibhas Ranjan De.
In his petition, the economist argued that in October 1943, the then Visva-Bharati general secretary Rathindranath Tagore had given 1.38 acre of land for a lease of 99 years to his father Ashutosh Sen, who later built ‘Pratichi’.
Sen had earlier moved a court in Suri against the eviction notice, but the court set May 15 as the date of hearing, well after the university’s deadline to vacate the land.
Meanwhile, Visva-Bharati has written to the Birbhum district administration to take steps to prevent protests over the issue around the varsity campus.
On Tuesday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had asked state ministers to begin a sit-in demonstration outside Sen’s house to protest against the eviction order.
Banerjee asked MSME Minister Chandranath Sinha, the local MLA, to lead the protest, which will be joined by Education Minister Bratya Basu and Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim.
She asked them not to move from the spot even if the varsity sends bulldozers to take possession of the land.
Responding to it, a Visva-Bharati official said there was no question of “demolition or bulldozing”.
“What and why will we demolish? Firstly there is nothing to be demolished on the encroached part of the land. It is vacant and there are some small and big trees only,” he said.
“Pratichi — the ancestral house of Amartya Sen along with the entire land is the property of Visva-Bharati. After the end of the residual period of the lease, the entire property will return to the university’s possession. Why should we cause harm to our own property?” he added.
Visva-Bharati had sent the eviction notice to Sen on April 19, asking him to vacate 13 decimal of the 1.38 acres land of his residence within May 6.
The university has been claiming that Sen is in possession of 1.38 acre of land on the Santiniketan campus, which is in excess of his legal entitlement of 1.25 acre.
Set up in 1921 by Rabindranath Tagore, Visva-Bharati is West Bengal’s only central university, and the prime minister is its chancellor.