'Deemed university officials come under anti graft law'

Officials of deemed university covered under anti graft law: SC

The Supreme Court has held that the 'deemed to be university' would be covered under the Prevention of Corruption Act, since such a varsity and its officials performed no less or any different public duty than the one undertaken by regular university and its officials.

A bench of Justices N V Ramana, Mohan M Shantanagoudar and Ajay Rastogi said that the very object of anti-corruption law was not only to prevent the social evil of bribery and corruption but also to make it applicable to individuals who might conventionally not be considered public servants.

The top court termed as "incorrect" the Gujarat HC's judgement of February 2, 2018, wherein it had held "deemed University” is excluded from the ambit of the term “University” under the PC Act.

The HC had discharged officials of deemed university 'Sumandeep Vidyapeeth', who were accused of demanding extra money from the daughter of a complainant for filling up examination form for the MBBS course. 

The bench interpreted the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act to hold that the officials of the deemed university were public servants as they performed public duties.

In its judgement, the bench also noted corruption in India is pervasive and there is no dispute that the education sector, which is a very important service sector in the country, has seen various scandals.

In his separate concurring judgement, Justice Rastogi said it is true that the distinction has been pointed out by the Parliament under the provisions of the UGC Act for consideration and determination of standards of education in universities. But in my view, no distinction could be carved out between the university and deemed to be university so far it relates to the term ‘public servant’ under the PC Act, he said.