Deemed varsities get two weeks to file explanation

A bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice A K Patnaik in an oral order directed the government to maintain earlier status quo till April 13 and till each one of the institution was heard by the Human Resource Development Ministry.

While posting the matter for hearing on March 30, the bench asked the HRD Ministry, the University Grants Commission and the affected institutes to file their replies in the intervening period.

Reading from the government affidavit, Attorney General Ghulam E Vahanvati said:  “The institutions deemed to be universities which prima facie do not deserve to retain their status as deemed to be universities, as recommended by the review committee, will each be communicated the shortcomings found against them and will be afforded an opportunity to show-cause why their declaration as institutions deemed to be universities should not be revoked by the government.’’

“After receipt of their reply and due consideration thereof the government will pass an appropriate order in each case. All this will be done within a reasonable time frame,’’ said Vahanvati.

While talking about the future of more than 2 lakh students, the affidavit said the responsibilities of affiliation with a university would be left to the respective state governments.

These affected institutions are in 13 states or union territories and under the jurisdiction of 28 state universities. “The decision with regard to according affiliation to and registering students enrolled in the 44 institutions with the relevant state university for the purpose of examining and award of degrees and other qualifications after having assessed equivalence etc. comes under the purview of the respective state governments,’’ said the affidavit filed by Upamanyu Basu, Director in the HRD Ministry.

The bench observed that the court would not allow the lives of students to be affected due to such a decision without proper safeguards.

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

Venugopal said issues pertaining to recognition of an educational institution of excellence falls under the ambit of the UGC and the government has no power to derecognise them.

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