From Our Correspondent
NEW DELHI : On April 27 the Supreme Court ruled that
all deemed universities are necessarily covered under
the Prevention of Corruption Act as their officials
performed no less or any different public duty
undertaken by conventional universities and its
Delivering the judgement in
State of Gujarat Vs Mansukhbhai Kanjibhai Shah (Criminal
Appeal No.989 of 2018)
a bench of Justices N V Ramana, Mohan M
Shantanagoudar and Ajay Rastogi relied heavily on
Subramanian Swamy Vs Manmohan Singh, (2012) and
felt that "the duty of the Court is that any
anticorruption law has to be interpreted and worked out
in such a fashion as to strengthen the fight against
corruption. That is to say in a situation where two
constructions are eminently reasonable, the Court has to
accept the one that seeks to eradicate corruption to the
one which seeks to perpetuate it.”
The court felt that the very objective 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.
Analysing the issue before the court it said that "the
first question before us, that is, whether the
respondent -- who is allegedly a trustee in the
Sumandeep Charitable Trust which established and
sponsors the said University (‘Deemed to be University’)
-- is a ‘public servant’ covered under Section 2(c) of
the PC Act, can be broken up into two parts: first,
whether the ‘Deemed University’ is covered under the
provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988,
and secondly, whether the ‘respondenttrustee’ can be
termed as ‘public servant’ under Section 2 (c) (xi) of
the PC Act?
The apex court termed as “incorrect” the Gujarat High
Court’s judgement of February 2, 2018, wherein it had
held “deemed University” be excluded from the ambit of
the term “University” under the PC Act.
The court quoted
Section 3 of the UGC Act which defines a ‘deemed to be
University’ in the following manner: "The Central
Government may, on the advice of the Commission, declare
by notification in the Official Gazette, that any
institution for higher education, other than a
University, shall be deemed to be a University for the
purposes of this Act, and on such a declaration being
made, all the provisions of this Act shall apply to such
institution as if it were a University within the
meaning of clause (f) of section 2."
In his separate concurring judgement, Justice
Rastogi said that 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.
AICTE relief to deemed varsities' victims
By Sanjiv Dube
NEW DELHI : The All
India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has given
relief to the students of four deemed universities --
JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Rajasthan; Advanced Studies in
Education, Rajasthan (IASE); Allahabad Agricultural
Institute, (AAI), and Vinayaka Mission’s Research
Foundation, Tamil Nadu, (VMRF)
-- who had taken technical education degrees from
distance education mode from these universities.
The relief is in the form an opportunity to these
students to pass a test, to be conducted by the AICTE,
following which the degrees obtained by these students
in distance mode will stand validated.
Days after the University Grants Commission (UGC)
suspended the degrees awarded to the students of these
four deemed universities, the AICTE has started
registering names of the students wishing to appear for
These students were enrolled in the four deemed
Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Rajasthan; Advanced Studies in
Education, Rajasthan (IASE); Allahabad Agricultural
Institute, (AAI), and Vinayaka Mission’s Research
Foundation, Tamil Nadu, (VMRF) --
from 2001 to 2005 and were awarded degrees/
diplomas in engineering through distance mode. The
candidates have been given time till January 15 to
register for the test. The degrees will remain suspended
till they clear it, officials said.
Officials said that the entrance exam will be conducted
in May or June.
“All the degrees of the students remain suspended.
The last date for registration is January 15 and
students need to register online. A written as well as
practical examination will be conducted for the
students,” reads the public notice issued by AICTE.
Four institutes — JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Rajasthan,
Advanced Studies in Education, Rajasthan (IASE),
Allahabad Agricultural Institute, (AAI), and Vinayaka
Mission’s Research Foundation, Tamil Nadu, (VMRF) — have
been conducting distance engineering programmes without
necessary approvals, including that from the UGC or
The Supreme Court had by its
judgement on November 3 suspended the degrees
awarded by them between 2001 and 2005 while the degrees
awarded through distance learning by the deemed
universities to students admitted after 2005 stand
Delivering its judgement in a SLP (Civil) in
Orissa Lift Irrigation Corp. Ltd vs Rabi Sankar Patro &
Ors case the universities were directed by the court
to return the tuition fee and other expenditure incurred
by the students.
The Supreme Court had also restrained “all
deemed-to-be universities to carry on any courses in
distance education mode from the academic session
2018-2019 onwards unless and until it is permissible to
conduct such courses in distance education mode and
specific permissions are granted by the concerned
statutory/regulatory authorities in respect of each of
those courses and unless the offcampus centres/study
centres are individually inspected and found adequate by
the concerned statutory authorities”.
AICTE rules mandate that engineering degrees cannot be
offered through distance education mode.
Stick-&-carrot policy for deemed varsities
By Our Correspondent
NEW DELHI :
The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has
approved amendments to
UGC (Institutions Deemed to be
Universities) Regulations, 2010 that would
restrict early fee realisation from students but
grant relief in land requirement and opening of
In the revised regulations to be notified soon, UGC has
tightened norms for giving deemed university status to
higher educational institutions, made the approval of
applications a time-bound process and removed a
provision that so far restricted the deemed universities
from opening more than six off-shore campuses.
However, the norms for opening off-shore campuses by the deemed
universities have been tightened as it would
require the institutions to get clearance from the
Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Home
Affairs before opening their campuses abroad.
This will be applicable to all deemed universities,
whether run and managed by private entities or run or
funded to any extent by the government.
"The deemed universities can collect a maximum Rs 10,000
as counselling fee and the students will pay full
tuition fee only at the time of their admission. This
has been done to ensure that students do not have to
struggle to get refund of their money they deposit as
tuition fee from the universities in case they do not
get admission. The revised regulations of the UGC have
been approved and will soon be notified," HRD
Minister Smriti Irani said.
The minister said that applications by higher
educational institutions for deemed-to-be-university
status will be considered within six to seven months
under the revised regulations. Besides, the inspection
team will video record the entire infrastructure and
other facilities, and upload it on the UGC's website
within 24 hours.
Both the industry and educationists have been
complaining of inordinate delay in the processing of
applications. Now specific timelines have been assigned at different stages
including information seeking by UGC (2 months),
submission of reports by the Expert committee (3 months)
and approval and advice of UGC (1.5 months) and
Government decision (2 months).
The visit of the expert committee, essentially
confirmatory of faculty availability and of the quality
and infrastructure will be recorded and uploaded on the
UGC website within 24 hours.
The revised regulations provide an impetus to accreditation and
other measures of quality. Institutions seeking de-novo
to apply for Deemed To Be Universities (DTBUs) would
need to have the highest NAAC/NBA grading for two cycles
or alternatively have the highest NAAC/NBA grading at
the time of application and be in the top 20 of the
National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF).
The revised regulations have brought in the Letter of Intent (LOI)
concept wherein the applicant, society, trust or Section
8 Company will set up the institution and indicate its
readiness for commencement of the academic operations,
as per the plan presented and agreed within three years
of the issue of LOI. Similar provisions have been made
Recognizing that the land is a scare and valuable
resource, the land requirement has been modified, to
focus on the built up area. The earlier specifications
in acres of land (5 – 10 acres) have been replaced with
the stipulation with the minimum open space should be
40% of the total area, that academic infrastructure
should be at least 15,000 sq. m. and that there must be
accommodation for students and teachers.
Institutions, under the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS)
can have a credit exchange matrix with other UGC
recognized institutions for the benefit of their
Keeping in view the need to maintain academic currency
and quality in the new provision, it has been mandated
that such institutions will review the syllabus every 3
years at least.
The revised regulation makes it mandatory for the institution
to have 3 cells – anti-ragging, anti discrimination and
gender sensitization as well as an internal complaints
committee for prevention of sexual harassment. There
will be barrier free access for specially-abled students
in all places. There will also be adequate health care
facilities for students, staff and faculty within the
In the context of governance, there would be a GoI
nominee on the Board of Management for DTBUs only in
case it is controlled by the Central Government or
receives more than 50% of its funding from the
government. In other cases, the UGC will provide
nominees from a panel of names recommended by a search
committee of academic experts.
Under 2010 regulations, the Chancellors could not be a
member of the society, trust or Section 8 Company nor a
close relative of its President. In the amended
regulations this restriction has been removed.
Industry collaborations and research projects would not
need specific approval of the UGC nor would be for new
departments in core subjects for which the institution
was established. It has been made mandatory for the DTBU
to participate in the National Institutions Ranking
Framework (NIRF) and in the Know Your College (KYC)
portal and mobile app application. Responding to
complaints from students, it has been decided that full
fee would only be paid at the time of admission, and not
during counseling or pre-admission process. No
capitation fees will be allowed.
The ceiling of 6 off-campuses has been removed. After 5
years of its establishment, the institution may set up
off-campuses provided it has got NAAC ‘A’ accreditation.
Similar provisions would apply for off-shore campuses
with the additional stipulation that clearance of the
MEA and MHA is requested.
Govt nominees on deemed varsity
NEW DELHI : On February 8 the Ministry of Human Resource
Development (MHRD) notified significant rules to monitor private deemed varsities by nominating
education experts on the governing bodies of all private
The rules called
UGC (Institutions deemed to be
Universities) (Third Amendment) Regulations, 2016
say that a search committee will
select nominees to the governing boards and finance
committees of the 88 private deemed universities in the
country, similar to the system followed in the case of IIT directors who are also picked by such panels. The
UGC will set up the search panel for the deemed
Sibal had, as HRD minister, moved the Higher
Education Research Bill that sought to set up a National
Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) as
an overarching body to regulate higher education. The
bill had provisions for the NCHER to create a registry
of candidates who could be appointed vice-chancellors in
deemed, state and central varsities, and nobody outside
the list could be considered.
The provision was later revised to include only
Central universities after objections from several
states which saw the move as a threat to their powers.
The Narendra Modi government last year withdrew the bill
The higher education regulator is likely to prepare
a registry of 150 to 200 individuals and may invite
applications for inclusion in the list. The search
panel, comprising experts, will scrutinise the
applications and finalise names from among the
Two lists are likely to be prepared, one of those who
could be sent as nominees to the governing bodies of the
deemed universities, and the other to the finance
committees of such institutes.
For the governing bodies, priority will be given to
those with academic experience, while those with
knowledge of finance - like chartered accountants or
corporate professionals - will be preferred for
nominations to the finance committees, UGC sources said.
The lists will be posted on the UGC website.
Under the current system, the government often has no
representation at meetings of the private deemed
universities because the UGC is unable to decide on the
to have proper criteria for deemed varsities
Fom Our Correspondent
NEW DELHI : Allowing a surprise relief
to deemed universities, the Ministry of Human Resource
Development (MHRD) told the Supreme Court on February 23,
that it proposes to frame criteria to deal with the
issue of recognition of private universities in the
"The Union of India has taken a decision that the proper
criteria or guidelines should be laid down after
consulting all the stakeholders so that the issue is
settled once and for all," the counsel, appearing for
MHRD told a bench of justices Dipak Misra and Vikramjit
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing
for the ministry, said that a decision had been taken
not to opt for gradation of deemed universities and that
there should be an objective criteria to bring about
uniformity and to avoid arbitrariness.
He told a Bench of justices Dipak Misra and
Vikramajit Sen that the government would consult all the
stakeholders including the All India Council for
Technical Education, University Grants Commission,
National Assessment and Accreditation Council and
National Board of Accreditation and come out with new
guidelines in three months.
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing
for UGC said of the 41 deemed universities (which were sought to be de-recognised)
physical inspection was conducted in eight of them.
Out of the eight, seven, despite certain deficiencies,
can be granted recognition for one more year, he said,
adding that the eighth -- Gurukul Kangra Vishwavidyalaya
-- lacks teaching and infrastructural facilities.
Senior advocate P H Parekh, appearing for Gurukul Kangra
Vishwavidyalaya, said that the government aid has been
stopped and moreover, the institution neither has any
management quota nor it levies any capitation fees.
"You cannot claim grant as a matter of right," the bench
said and asked the university to respond to the Centre's
report which would to be filed in the next three weeks.
Senior advocates Rajeev Dhawan and Vikas Singh,
appearing for some private universities, said that they
are not opposed to the statutory physical verification
of the universities by the authorities but the stigma of
adverse grading like 'B' and 'C' should must go.
Earlier, the court had rapped the University Grant
Commission (UGC) for going into "slumber" over
conducting physical verification of infrastructure and
faculty strength of deemed universities, which were
black-listed by a committee appointed by the Centre.
The remarks were made when ASG Maninder Singh, appearing
for UGC, was trying to explain the circumstances for the
delay by submitting that there was a need to modify the
apex court order as the commission cannot go the way P N
Tandon Committee made categorisation of the deemed
universities like "A", "B" and "C" depending on the
fulfillment of criteria.
UGC had said it can only do the inspection and after
seeking response of such universities, place the report
with the Centre which has to express its view before the
The bench on September 26 had ruled out the suggestion
of verification through photographs and videography,
saying it was not an acceptable mode of determining the
It had asked UGC to complete within three months the
physical verification of 41 deemed universities.
It had said that after completing the procedure of
verification and rectification of deficiencies, UGC will
file its report both to the Centre and the apex court.
The Supreme Court had earlier last year directed UGC to
examine all the reports of the 41 deemed to-be
universities and advise the central government.
These universities had gone to the Supreme Court after
they were put in the 'C' category in 2009 by P N Tandon
Committee, a retired professor of All India Institute of
Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
After the apex court's direction, UGC had set up a
committee under its Vice Chairperson H Devaraj, which
heard all the 41 deemed universities separately.
A decision to issue show cause notice was taken for
seven such deficient deemed universities by the Centre
as to why they should not be denotified. But later it
was left to the apex court.
Earlier, 44 deemed universities were found to be unfit
for the status by the Tandon committee. However, the
number came down to 41 after two of them surrendered the
deemed varsity tax, while the third one was converted
into a centre of national importance.
Regulations 2010 on deemed
From Our Correspondent
BANGALORE : On May 22, 2014 the vacation bench of the
Court of Karnataka quashed the
Commission (Institutions Deemed to be Universities)
Regulations 2010, terming it
‘unconstitutional and invalid.’
The bench also quashed the circular issued by the UGC in
2010-11 asking all existing deemed-to-be universities to
comply with the new regulations.
The petitioners - JSS, Siddhartha, KLE, BLDE, Devaraj
Urs, Manipal, Yenepoya and Symbiosis Universities - had
challenged the constitutionality and legality of the
Regulation. They had argued that if a vice-chancellor
from outside is appointed then that person would have
the powers to nominate three academicians to the board
and this would take away the powers vested with the
The Regulation would also enable persons to interfere in
the administration and admission process of private
unaided institutions, which was against the Supreme
Court directions in the
TMA Pai Foundation
The Union government and the UGC had argued that the
Regulations 2010 was aimed at bringing transparency,
accountability and quality in deemed universities
as they "are run by private trusts, usually by family
members and friends. However, the petitioners said that
under the guise of Regulations, the Centre was virtually
seeking to wrest control of these institutions.
Justice Anand Byrareddy, who allowed the petition,
said in his
order: “The UGC abdicated its power and it
seems that it’s not even the author of these
regulations.” The judge said that 47 regulation was
against the Supreme Court’s verdicts in
TMA Pai Foundation,
PA Inamdar and other cases, as it would dilute the
managements’ control in admission and fee fixation.
Interference either by the UGC or the Union government
in these processes of private unaided and minority
educational institutions through the regulation is
impermissible, the High Court said.
Pointing out that it was not the UGC that authored the
regulation but the Ministry concerned, the High Court
said that by such an action, the UGC had abdicated its
discretion to frame regulations, and hence the
regulation was also in violation of Section 26 of the
move to bail out damned deemed varsities
By Sanjiv Dube
NEW DELHI : Under pressure, the University Grants Commission
has recommended a fresh inspection and review of 44
deemed universities that were found unfit by a
government committee in 2009.
The move is expected to bail out 44 deemed universities dubbed “unworthy” and put in the “C”
category by the P.N. Tandon panel, which had called for
them to be stripped of the “deemed university” status
immediately. The 44 deemed varsities had moved the Supreme Court, where the case is
still lingering on.
In January last year, the apex court had directed the
Centre to seek UGC's comments on the Tandon
panel’s recommendations. It said that the commission should take a stand after
examining the Tandon findings, the commission’s own
review report of 2009, the report of an officers’
committee in 2011, and the response of each of the 44
At the end of a three-day meeting of all its members
last year, the commission concluded that there is a
lot of discrepancy between the findings of the various
So, it has decided on fresh inspections, multiple
sources in the commission and the Union Human Resource
Development Ministry said.
While the Tandon panel found the performance of these
institutions unsatisfactory on nine parameters,
including teaching and research, the commission’s 2009
report had rated these institutions as performing at the
In their responses to the Tandon findings, all the 44
institutions have claimed that they have improved their
infrastructure and standards of research and teaching
and pleaded that their deemed university status not be
A senior commission official said: “The commission
members felt that there was no unanimity in the findings
of the reviews. So, withdrawing the deemed tag from 44
institutions on the strength of just one report would
not be fair.”
This stand will be conveyed to the ministry, which will
place it in the Supreme Court before the next hearing.
The Tandon committee had examined 126 deemed
universities and found 44 of them “unworthy”. These
institutions had scored less than 15 out of 45.
It had found 44 others deficient on many counts and put
them in the “B” category. The performances of 38 were
SC grants more time to damned
By Sanjiv Dube
NEW DELHI : On January 21 last year the Supreme Court granted
two months’ lease of life to 44 deemed universities who
were indicted by the two inquiry committees.
The apex court bench. comprising Justices K.S.
Radhakrishnan and Vikramjit Sen passed the order while
disposing of a 2006 PIL seeking de-recognition of the 44
deemed universities on the ground that they did not meet
the standards fixed for the “deemed” status.
The PIL alleged that the deemed universities were only
money-spinners and treated as personal fiefs by their
owners, with scant concern for academic excellence.
In its order the bench granted the University Grants
Commission (UGC) two months to decide whether the damned
universities planned to be de-recognised by the Centre
should be allowed to continue. It, however, clarified
that while the recommendations of the UGC on their
status were “not binding” on the Ministry of Human
Resource Development (MHRD) it
must give “due weightage” to its opinion.
According to the
UGC (Institutions Deemed to be
Universities) Regulations, 2010, the MHRD and
the UGC can carry out an inspection of the institutions
deemed to be a university.
The MHRD had moved to
withdraw their recognition, based on reports of two
inquiry committees, after which the deemed universities challenged the
MHRD’s powers to take action and argued that only
the UGC could do so.
In its order the court said the UGC should give due prior
notices to the universities on their alleged failure to
meet standards and hear their explanations. The
commission should also examine the reports of all
The bench said :
“We feel it appropriate to give a direction to the UGC
to examine all the reports, with notice to all the 44
institutions concerned. Institutions are free to raise
their objections against the reports and the UGC has to
consider the same and take an independent decision in
accordance with law, if necessary, after affording a
hearing, within a period of two months.”
Once that is done, the court said the UGC must “tender
its advice” to the MHRD. “Needless to say that the
advice of the UGC is not binding on the Union of India
but (it) has to be given due weight since the UGC is an
expert statutory authority.”
The court clarified that it was not ruling on the merits
of any of the reports. “We make it clear that we have
not given our stamp of approval to any of the reports
and it is for the UGC to consider all the reports, with
notice to the 44 institutions, in accordance with the
law,” Justice Radhakrishnan, writing the order, said.
In their appeals, the varsities have argued that the
power to de-recognise them vested in the UGC and not in
the Centre. The court has, however, so far refrained
from deciding who has the powers to take such action.
The ministry had earlier told the court that one of the
panels, Tandon Committee, examined the functioning of
various institutions and found that the 44 did not
satisfy any of the requirements. The ministry had also
said it would put in place a mechanism to ensure that the
future of the students was not affected.
“We have now two parallel inquiries, one conducted by
the UGC directly and another conducted by the Central
government through Tandon. But we find that UGC had no
occasion to examine the Tandon Committee report.
Further, we also notice that there is another report of
the Committee of officers, which has also not been
placed before the UGC,” the bench noted.
The 44 institutions were tested on nine parameters.
These included conformity with UGC guidelines,
governance, innovations in teaching, research output,
faculty and admission processes.
The Tandon Committee had initially examined all 126
deemed universities in the country and classified them
into A, B and C categories. The 44 varsities fell in
category C, which signified the worst performance
requiring revocation of recognition. It was suggested
that those in the other two categories could continue.
In its report to the Human Resources Ministry, P N
Tandon, emeritus professor of neuro-surgery at the All
India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, and
comprising Goverdhan Mehta, a former director of the
Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; Anandakrishnan,
former vice chancellor of Anna Technical University,
Chennai; and Prof Mrinal Miri, former vice chancellor of
North Eastern Hill University, Shillong, made the
de-recognition recommendation of these universities.
The panel had reportedly indicted the 44 varsities for
“thoughtless introduction” of new study programmes
beyond their mandate and failing to engage in any
meaningful research activity.
During the hearing, government counsel submitted that no
final decision has been taken by the central government,
either on the basis of the report of the UGC or that of
Prof Tandon’s report. Different senior counsel,
representing those varsities, submitted that they had
complied with the statutory requirements laid down under
the Medical Council of India Act, Dental Council of
India Act, and others.
Deemed varsities bite uniform
By Sanjiv Dube
NEW DELHI : On June 25, 2013 the vice-chancellors of
various Deemed Universities agreed in principle to
accept the uniform
accounting standards devised by the Institute of
Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and gave a
reluctant nod to Kapil Sibal's single test engineering
The meeting was held here under the Chairmanship of
Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Kapil
Sibal on June 25 to brief the VCs about the Joint
Entrance Examination and to appeal to them to implement
uniform accounting standards.
In his inaugural address, the minister suggested setting
up of a Council for all the deemed universities to
co-ordinate matters of common interest with
representation of Vice Chancellors, prominent
academicians and UGC/MHRD.
The minister explained the concept of the proposed JEE
and invited them to join it. Deemed universities,
he said, would be free to choose appropriate weightage
for Class XII Boards and JEE MAIN/ AIEEE normalised on
percentile basis. Those wanting to give 100% weightage
to Class XII Board marks performance for admission were
At present, several deemed universities conduct their
own entrance tests, while some adopt AIEEE scores and
the rest take state Common Entrance Exam results.
Sibal clarified that their involvement will not affect
the management quota as also reservation for the weaker
sections of the society. Top HRD officials from
technical and higher education department were also
present in the meeting.
The second presentation was on adoption of uniform
accounting standards in all deemed universities.
It was decided to organize the Capacity Building
Programme, on uniform accounting standards through UGC
and its adoption by deemed universities in collaboration
with ICAI. A standard e-package of the accounting system
would be provided to all the educational institutions
including deemed universities.
UGC Regulations for Deemed
SC allows more time to damned
NEW DELHI : On April 11, 2013 the Supreme Court once
again allowed the 44 condemned deemed universities to
have their way. It allowed them to enjoy their deemed
university status till July 19 thereby allowing them to go ahead with admissions for the 2011-12 session.
The Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Dalveer
Bhandari and Deepak Verma posted the hearing for July
19, 2013, extending till then its order restraining the
government on an objection raised by one of the
institutions, the J R N Rajasthan Vidyapeeth deemed
university, contending that Sunil Kumar IAS was the
Convenor of the P N Tandon Committee, which had
recommended the de-recognition of these institutions
after finding that they lacked proper faculty and
The apex court also effectively eliminated the role of
the Tandon Committee in the process of re-assessment by
directing the A.S. Thakur committee to hear the 44
institutions and submit its report to the government,
which in turn would prepare “a reasoned report” and hand
it over to the court for deciding their status.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Indira Jaisingh,
appearing for the Centre, had sought three months
additional time - one month for the Thakur committee to
hear the 44 institutions, another to finalise its
recommendations and a further one month for the
government to prepare its report based on the panel’s
The Thakur committee comprising Additional Secretary A.S. Thakur (Technical Education), Sunil Kumar, Additional
Secretary (Higher Education) and N.K. Sinha, Additional
Secretary (Technology Enabled Learning) was given six
weeks to submit its inspection report to the government
and further four weeks were allowed to the ministry to
submit a report to the court.
Meanwhile, the bench directed that the government
should exclude Mr Sunil Kumar from the committee of the
HRD ministry probing into the case as he himself had
declined to be a member of the panel.
MHRD secys to hear 44 deemed
From Our Correspondent
NEW DELHI: Three additional secretaries of the Union
Human Resource Development Ministry have been deputed to
hear each of the 44 deemed universities found unfit to
retain the deemed university status so that the ministry
could prepare a report for the apex court which was to
hear the case on April 25, 2013.
Additional Secretary A.S. Thakur (Technical Education)
would head the team while Sunil Kumar, Additional
Secretary (Higher Education) and N.K. Sinha, Additional
Secretary (Technology Enabled Learning) would be the
members of the team.
The team has been set up on the orders of the Supreme
Court (on January 11, 2013) which said that the damned 44
deemed universities deserve a chance to be heard before
their deemed university status is scrapped.
The Ministry issued notices to the universities and
their response was forwarded to the review team.
Each institution was individually heard by the
three-member team of officials which prepared a
reasoned report and, thereafter prepared a comprehensive
report, which was submitted to the Supreme Court.
A review committee comprising P.N. Tandon, Mrinal Miri,
Goverdhan Mehta and Anandakrishnan had reviewed the
deemed-to-be-universities and divided them in three
As many as 44 such universities were found unfit to
become deemed university on an aggregate assessment.
Backgrounder : SC relief to 44
NEW DELHI : In a major relief to over two lakh
students, the Supreme Court directed the Union Human
Resource Development Ministry on January 25 2013 to maintain
“status quo” on its decision on the 44 condemned deemed
universities till the matter was taken up for further
hearing on March 8, 2010.
“We shall not pass any ex parte orders,” a
two-judge bench headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari said.
“They (the institutions) will be heard. No student or
institution’s interests will be affected,” it added,
issuing notices to to all 44 deemed universities to
present their case and fixing the next hearing for March
Hearing arguments in Viplav
Sharma vs Union of India case the bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and A.K.
Patnaik said that till then “status quo” will be maintained
on the government order, which means the HRD Ministry’s
order will be in suspended animation.
The institutions face
de-recognition after P N Tandon committee report slammed
them for poor performance and bad management. The
said that they were being run as family fiefs rather than on
Acting on the recommendations, the Ministry of Human
Resource Development (MHRD) had said
on January 18 that it was planning to withdraw the
deemed status to the 44 institutions — which were among the
126 that had been granted such a tag by former HRD
minister Arjun Singh.
The court directed the Attorney-General, Mr Goolam E.
Vahanvati, to place before it the report of the task
force set up by the HRD minister, Mr Kapil Sibal, to
examine the functioning of 126 deemed universities as
well as the report of the review committee as the
ministry had acted on the recommendations of these two
It further directed Mr Vahanvati to submit an affidavit
on the steps the ministry proposed to take to safeguard
the interests of over two lakh students of these 44
This order, with multiple directions, came after a
battery of the country’s top legal brains, appearing for
different deemed universities, assailed the MHRD action, citing several “loopholes”. The
court was hearing a pending PIL by advocate
Viplav Sharma, challenging the grant of deemed
university status to several institutions by the former
minister, Mr Arjun Singh, in a “reckless” manner.
Senior advocates — Mr Fali S. Nariman, Mr K. Parasaran,
Mr K.K. Venugopal, Mr Rajiv Dhawan and others took on
the government, saying it had acted merely on the
reports of the task force and review committee despite
these bodies having no statutory status, while
recommendations of the University Grants Commission, a
statutory body, were overlooked.
Assuring students and the universities, the bench said:
“Presently our anxiety is what will happen to all those
Public interest is paramount. When the matter is before
court, the government cannot do anything. We ourselves
want to look
into it. If there is any violation of the principles of
natural justice, we will look into it. Rest assured,
happen to your institutions and your students till we
dispose the matter.”
Appearing for the MHRD, Vahanvati
weeks to file a comprehensive reply on the issue.
He said the government was fully conscious of the
uncertainties that the students studying in these
universities might face.
“It is the UGC, a statutory body, which recommends
whether such status is granted or taken away,” said
senior lawyer Rajeev
Dhavan. “It cannot be taken away on the recommendation
of a non-statutory body,” he said, speaking on behalf of
one of the
Others pointed out that the 44 deemed universities set to lose their status
had been praised by the UGC. The court
the government to produce the reports of the UGC, the
Tandon panel and the task force set up to implement the
Tremors in Higher Education
After a gap of five years country's Higher Education
sector experienced another set of tremors on
January 18, 2013 -- like the
ones experienced after the
case judgement in which 112 private universities were
scrapped by the Supreme Court in one go.
The new tremors were caused by Human Resource
Development Ministry's decision to banish 44 deemed
universities (listed above) owned by powerful politicians and
influential businessmen in the country.
On January 18 the MHRD under, Mr Kapil Sibal, in a
virtual rebuff to his predecessor, Mr Arjun Singh's
policy of conferring "deemed university" status to 126
institutions, submitted in the Supreme Court that only
36 institutions were fully qualified to be upgraded
while 44 "deemed universities" have "abysmal"
infrastructure facilities and that their deemed university
status needs to be withdrawn.
In its affidavit filed in the Supreme Court in Viplav
Sharma vs Union of India case, the
government submitted the P N Tandon committee report, which
lists 44 erring institutions for de-recognition. Of
these, the highest 16 are in Tamil Nadu, followed by 6
in Karnataka, 4 in Uttar Pradesh, 3 each in Haryana and
Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan, and one each in
Gujarat, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry and New
Of the deficient institutions, 41 are privately managed,
and three are government funded, including Nava Nalanda
Mahavihara in Nalanda, Bihar; Rajiv Gandhi National
Youth Development Institute, Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu;
and National Institute of the History of Art,
Conservation and Museology, New Delhi.
The de-recognition move, if it comes through following
the SC intervention, would affect the futures of over 2
lakh students, with 2,03,322 currently pursuing courses
with the erring institutions. Accordingly, the task
force constituted to implement the committee
recommendations has said that the erring universities
could seek affiliation to the state university of their
jurisdiction to enable students to complete courses.
“Existing colleges not found suitable to continue should
revert to their status as affiliated college of the
state university of jurisdiction to enable the students
to finish courses and obtain degrees,” the task force
It has further advised the government to make every
effort to facilitate migration or re-enrolment of the
students to equivalent courses in other institutions in
case their own institution, after losing its deemed tag,
is unable to attain affiliation of the state university
The government counsel told Justices Dalveer Bhandari
and A.K. Patnaik that while approving
deemed university status to only 36 institutions, 44
others had been put on "watch list" for three years to
see whether they improve their standard, infrastructure
and teaching facilities.
The universities run by some of the top guns in Tamil
Nadu, such as Union minister S. Jagathrakshakan, AIADMK
Lok Sabha member M. Thambidurai and the Dravida Kazhagam
leader K. Veeramani have been recommended for withdrawal
of the "deemed university" status by the ministry, as
the state earned the dubious distinction of earning the
"highest score" of 16 of its
varsities in the national `black-list' of 44.
The 44 institutions which will lose their deemed varsity
status have violated the guidelines prescribing
excellence in teaching and research or innovations, and
introduced unrelated degree programmes beyond the
mandate of the grant of the status, the MHRD council
told the court.
In the affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the MHRD
said that the Prof. P N Tandon Committee found that with the
notable exception of some publicly funded institutions,
none of them could produce evidence of quality research,
going by publications in leading journals.
Many institutions, which attained the deemed university
status from being colleges, increased their intake
disproportionately and, in some cases, exponentially in
relation to the qualified faculty strength and academic
infrastructure. Several institutions prescribed fees
considerably higher than that recommended by official
The decision on according affiliation to and registering
students enrolled in the 44 institutions with the
relevant State university for the purpose of award of
degrees would be taken up in consultation with the State
Regarding foreign institutions, the affidavit said: “The
Centre is in the process of finalising a legislative
proposal for regulating the entry and operations of
foreign education providers and the same has to be
introduced in Parliament after obtaining necessary
approval within the government.”
The Centre was awaiting the final report of the Task
Force on the draft regulations submitted by the
University Grants Commission for declaring institutions
deemed universities. The guidelines, after consideration
by the Centre, would be conveyed to the UGC for being
notified, the affidavit said.