The University of Calcutta had an enormous territorial jurisdiction during a considerable period of its existence. This jurisdiction practically continued till the Indian Universities Act of 1904 came into operation, wherein provision was made for the first time for defining the territorial limits of the five universities then existing in India (including Burma and Ceylon), viz. the Universities of Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, the Punjab and Allahabad. In fact, there was no territorial limit fixed for the University of Calcutta in the Act of Incorporation in 1857, and when in 1882 the Punjab University and in 1887 the University of Allahabad came into existence, no provision was made in the Acts for these Universities, curtailing the jurisdiction of the University of Calcutta. From the list of schools and colleges enjoying recognition and affiliation of the University of Calcutta in 1903, i.e. immediately before the Indian Universities Act of 1904 was passed, it will appear that two institutions in the Punjab, viz. Bishop Cotton School, Simla and Baring High School, Batala (Gurdaspur) were then enjoing affiliation to the University of Calcutta; St. John’s College, Agra, Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College, Aligarh, Thomason Engineering College, Rurkee, Joynarayan’s College, Benares, and other colleges belonging to the then United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, were also affiliated to this University. Schools from the districts of Peshwar, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Dera-Ismail Khan, Multan, Jullundher, Ludhiana in the Punjab, Bhopal, Bundelkhand, Indore, Ujjain, Jaypur of Central India, Cawnpur, Lucknow, Mirzapur, Musoori, Nainital, Allahabad of the then United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, used to send up students for the Entrance Examination of the University of Calcutta. Lahore Government College, which was first affiliated to the University of Calcutta in 1864, prepared students chiefly for the examinations of the Punjab University after that University was established but some of the students were also sent out for the examinations of the University of Calcutta ; such was also the position of Government College, Delhi. Jaypur Maharaj’s College, Jaypur, that was first affiliated to the University of Calcutta in 1873, trained students for the Oriental Examinations of the Punjab University and on the establishment of the University of Allahabad, it was affiliated to that University also although it continued enjoying affiliation of the University of Calcutta long thereafter.
Under the Indian Universities Act of 1904, the Governor-General-in-Council was empowered to define the territorial limits of the five universities mentioned above, and according to the notification of the Government of India, in the Home Department, dated 20 August 1904, the limits of the University of Calcutta were confined to Bengal (including Bihar and Orissa), Assam and Burma. Out of the areas over which the University formerly exercised its jurisdiction, Ceylon went under the University of Madras; the states and provinces included in the Rajputana and Central India Agencies, the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, the Central Provinces, and Ajmere and Marwara fell within the orbit of the University of Allahabad; and the Punjab, the North Western province and the state of Kashmir were placed under the Punjab University.
After the Indian Universities Act of 1904 came into operation, the Syndicate of the University of Calcutta decided, on 18 August 1906, to withdraw recognition of the schools outside the territorial limits of the University with effect from 30 April 1907. At that time 2 schools in Kashmir, 17 in Central India, 15 in Central Provinces, 21 in Ceylon, 45 in the Punjab, and 21 in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh were enjoying the privileges of such recognition. Steps were also taken for the withdrawl of affiliation of the colleges which fell within the areas outside the newly defined territorial limits of the University, according to the procedure laid down for disaffiliation of colleges under the New Regulations. Two colleges in Punjab, five in the State of Rajputana Agency, three in the Central Province, six in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh and seven in Ceylon were disaffiliated in 1907.
In 1917, the University of Patna was established and the colleges and schools belonging to the provinces of Bihar and Orissa went over to that University. In 1920, the University of Rangoon was established and the territory of Burma went out of the jurisdiction of the University of Calcutta in 1921, and in that year, on the establishment of the University of Dacca, the Dacca College (Arts and Law), Dacca Training College and Jagannath College, Dacca, went into the fold of that University. Thus the jurisdiction of the University, which in 1904 extended practically over whole of north India, Burma and Ceylon , came to be limited in 1921 to the provinces of Bengal (undivided) and Assam. From 1921 till the date of India’s partition on 14 August, 1947, this shrunken jurisdiction of the University remained undisturbed. But on that day, all colleges which fell within the territory of the newly created state of Eastern Pakistan, had to sever their ties with the University of Calcutta. The following year, the jurisdiction of the University was further curtailed; the University of Gauhati having been established on 1 January, 1948, all the colleges and schools belonging to the province of Assam left the University of Calcutta.The jurisdiction of the University is, at present, limited to the confines of a few districts of West Bengal.