States' views on deemed varsities sought

Supreme Court to hear de-recognition case on January 11

A Bench headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari said on Tuesday that it was necessary to hear the views of the States before any order was passed as about two lakh students were sought to be shifted to the State universities if the Tandon Committee recommendation was to be accepted.

The Bench fixed January 11, 2011, for final hearing of the matter.
Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising, appearing for the Human Resource Development Ministry (HRD) ministry, submitted that since Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam was not available in Delhi, she was seeking an adjournment. She informed the court that Attorney General G E Vahanvati would appear in this matter.

The 44 deemed universities facing derecognition on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that the order served on them was illegal, arbitrary and beyond the authority of the HRD Ministry.

Senior advocate K K Venugopal appearing for one of the institutes had questioned the government’s authority saying that recognition accorded to these institutions under a law made by Parliament could not be taken back by an executive order.

Venugopal said the issues pertaining to recognition of an educational institution of excellence falls under the ambit of the University Grant Commission Act and the government has no power to derecognise them directly.  The HRD Ministry review committee headed by Prof P N Tandon had recommended de-recognition of these 44 institutes spread across the country on the ground that they failed to meet the standard required for sustaining status of a “deemed” university under the provisions laid down by the University Grant Commission (UGC).

The draft UGC guidelines covering both existing institutes “deemed to be universities” and institutions of higher education seeking declaration as an institute deemed to be university have been forwarded by the UGC and being considered for approval, said the report.

However, 38 of such universities have passed the strict guidelines that were set by the UGC for qualifying to be deemed universities.

In January 2010, the Centre had submitted a report saying that it would derecognise 44 institutes, including Christ College, Bangalore, Yenepoya University, Mangalore, Sri Devaraj Urs University, BLDE University, Bijapur, Sidharth Academy of Higher Educaiton, Tumkur and Jain University, Bangalore.

Lawyer Viplav Sharma had filed a public interest litigation in 2006 in the Supreme Court seeking regulation of deemed universities in the country.

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