Pranab honorary degree in prez Pratibha's hand
Outgoing finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has asked the Human Resources Development ministry to fast-track approval of president Pratibha Patil to the IIT Kharagpur to confer an honorary degree of DSc honoris causa on him at its convocation on August 25.
As the visitor of all IITs, the president is the final authority to give them permission to confer the honorary degree on anybody. Strict about rules and propriety, Mukherjee has made it clear that he won't be able to approve the degree to himself, if it were not already approved by Pratibha Patil before relinquishing the office on July 24.
Legally, it can be done even after he becomes the president but he is particular that it won't befit the office of the president for the incumbent to use his discretion to allow the conferment of an honorary degree on himself, a HRD ministry official said, confirming that papers have been rushed to the Rashtrapati Bhawan to secure Patil's approval.
He said the board of governors of IIT Kharagpur should have desisted from recommending the honorary degree on Mukherjee on June 18, despite knowing well that he became a presidential candidate three days earlier on June 15, causing embarrassment that he may have to give the approval if it does not come on time from the outgoing president.
The HRD ministry is quite strict in not allowing any central institutions to bestow any honoris causa degree on the president, but this is a curious case where a would-be president is chosen for the honour, the official added.