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AICTE scanner on Telangana colleges
HYDERABAD : The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has served notice on about 240 colleges in Telangana  for violating GO111 norms.

The Quality Foundation had filed two PILs in the High Court of Telangana, complaining about deficiencies in land and building approvals of 200 plus colleges following which the AICTE issued show cause notices to all the 240 engineering colleges to appear before the duly constituted Scrutiny Committee to verify some of the original documents before giving an approval for the academic year 2018-2019.

The colleges which received show cause notices appeared before the AICTE Scrutiny Committee and submitted land and building original documents for verification. Now, colleges are awaiting AICTE’s approval to run engineering programmes and admit students for the academic year 2018-2019.

About 40 plus colleges were found to have violated GO Ms No-111, Municipal Administration and Urban Development (II) Department, dated March 8, 1996. These colleges were established without proper land conversion certificates and approved building permissions according to AICTE building permissions that were obtained from Grama Panchayats, which is not competent. The authority concerned should have obtained permission from either HMDA or DTCP.

Remaining 180 plus colleges have been established without proper land conversion certificates and building approvals from competent authorities.

According to Goutham Rao, president of Telangana Engineering College Management Association “About 240 colleges received the show cause notice for land deficiencies and colleges need minimum two years to resolve these."

Inst of Mentally Handicapped
HYDERABAD : The National Institute of Mentally Handicapped is likely to become a full-fledged national university soon.

Thawaar Chand Gehlot, the Union minister for social justice and
empowerment, said on June 14 that once a proposal was sent by the institute authorities, they would process the project.

Speaking at NIMH, his first public meeting after taking charge, Mr Gehlot promised a 100 to 120 member hostel for the differently-abled and a rehabilitation plus therapy centre, estimated
at a budget of Rs 9 crore, to be set up at NIMH.

About 260 beneficiaries, identified from across the state based on income criteria, were given hearing aids, tricycles etc. costing Rs 15.37 lakh.

“Developing an adequate plan of action to meet the requirements for rehabilitation and empowerment, the enactment of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill and repealing the Persons with Disabilities Act 1995, are my priorities,” said Mr Gehlot.

He also said that under the revised scheme, the cost ceiling for aids and appliances was Rs 10,000 for single disabilities and Rs 12,000 for others. Accessible mobile phones to visually
impaired students and a subsidy of Rs 25,000 on motorised tricycles and wheelchairs had also been included.

“Cochlear implant has been included free of cost for 500 children with a ceiling amount of Rs 6 lakh per unit,” the minister said.



 SC sets aside Telangana HC order on fee fixation

By Sanjiv Dube
On July 1 the Supreme Court firmly rejected the Telangana High Court's orders fixing fee structure of unaided minority and non-minority institutions for engineering courses for 2016-17 and 2018-19 academic years.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Naveen Sinha said, in no uncertain terms, that "the court, in the garb of judicial review, cannot usurp the jurisdiction of the decision maker and make the decision itself. Neither can it act as an appellate authority of the TFARC (Telangana Admission and Fee Regulatory Committee).

Restoring the fees fixed by the TAFRC the apex court was severe in its criticism of the High Court's decision to fix on its own the fees structure to be levied from engineering students in the state.

Delivering its ruling in Civil Appeal 5133 of 2019, Vasavi Engineering College Parents Association versus Telangana State and Others the apex court said that "the High Court exceeded its jurisdiction in interfering with the recommendation of the TAFRC for reasons discussed. The orders of the High Court are set aside. The recommendation of the TAFRC dated February 4, 2017 for the block period 2016-2017 and 2018-2019 is restored."

The apex court pointed out that the a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court had in Islamic Academy of Education and another vs. State of Karnataka and Ors., (2003) 6 SCC 697 ordered for the establishment of a fee regulation committee in each state to monitor, fix and regulate fee structure of all unaided minority and non-minority educational institutions.

The Apex Court reminded that the Telangana State too had constituted TAFRC which is headed by a former high court judge and also comprises several experts of various fields to determine the fee structure subject to approval by the state government. The Supreme Court bench said that the High Court, in effect usurped the authority of the TAFRC and hence "exceeded its jurisdiction in interfering with the recommendation of the TAFRC". 

The fee structure notified by the government for Bachelor of Engineering and B.Tech courses for 2016-17 and 2018-19 were challenged twice before the high court.

Opining that the fixation was not proper, the high court itself proceeded to fix the fee structure to its satisfaction.

Aggrieved by the order, the State government approached the apex court which set aside the high court order and restored the decision of fee regulatory committee.

"The recommendations of the TAFRC being the resultant of a quasi-judicial decision making process, it will undoubtedly be amenable to the jurisdiction of the court for scrutiny by judicial review, so as to ensure adherence to the constitutional principles of reasonableness, fairness and adherence to the law under Article 14 of the Constitution," the bench said.

It said that the judicial review, lies against the decision making process and not the merits of the decision itself.

"It needs no emphasis that complex executive decisions in economic matters are necessarily empiric and based on experimentation. Its validity cannot be tested on any rigid principles or the application of any straitjacket formula. The court while adjudging the validity of an executive decision in economic matters must grant a certain measure of freedom or play in the joints to the executive," the bench said.

It said that not mere errors, but only "palpably arbitrary decisions" alone can be interfered with in judicial review.

"The court should therefore be loath to interfere with such recommendation of an expert body, and accepted by the government, unless it suffers from the vice of arbitrariness, irrationality, perversity or violates any provisions of the law under which it is constituted," the bench said.

The Telangana Parents’ Association’s president N. Narayana, Vasavi Engineering College Parents’ Association’s president Srinadh and Srinidhi College Parents’ Association’s president Srinivas met TAFRC chairman Justice Swaroop Reddy and held discussions on implementing the Supreme Court judgment on fee regulation.

The parents’ associations had gone to court on the issue of hike in fees by engineering colleges and were supported by the government.

Fees were to be decided for a block period of three years but the colleges were not willing to accept this, therefore, parents moved court. Apart from fees needed for different courses in one package, colleges were demanding additional charges to which parents objected.

Hyderabad HC scraps GOs & VCs' appointments

From Our Correspondent
Just two days after the Telangana state government appointed eight vice-chancellors to its state universities, the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad, struck down the three government orders which amended the AP Universities Act, 1991 and other university Acts that sought to make VCs' appointment without consulting the Governor-Chancellor.

Delivering its judgement in Dr D Manohar Rao vs The State of Telangana on July 28, 2016 a division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Dilip B. Bhosale and Justice A.V. Sesha Sai described the government action as "arbitrary, illegal and contrary" to provisions of the AP Reorganisation Act 2014.

Allowing two PILs (WP 6 and 7 of 2016) by Dr D. Manohar Rao, a retired professor of Osmania University, challenging amendment to universities Acts taking away the Governor-Chancellor's power to appoint VCs the court said that the state government had no power to amend the rules of the UGC, which was a Central body.

The UGC has stipulated 10 years of academic experience for a person to be appointed as vice-chancellor but it was reduced to five years by the state government. The government also stipulated under the amendment that non-academics having administrative experience could also be appointed as VCs.

Both, the petitioner and the respondents, cited Kalyani Mathivanan Vs. K V Jeyaraj to define the scope of UGC Regulations 2010 in their own way.

The court made it clear that persons who were appointed vice-chancellors recently, if they satisfied the conditions imposed by the UGC, may continue in office.

The state government has been allowed four week's time to appeal in the Supreme Court against the High Court order.

Osmania teachers to fight it out

The High Court order has boosted Osmania University teachers' morale and they have decided to pursue the matter in the Supreme Court.

According to Dr D. Manohar Rao his main contentions and that of Osmania teachers have been the four Government Orders (GO) – 28, 29 and 38 released last year, and GO MS 1 released this year in January.

While GOs 28 and 29 were for removal of the Governor as Chancellor of state universities and giving powers to the state government to appoint separate chancellors for all universities, GOs 38 and 1 were for tweaking the revised UGC scales of pay, 2006 guidelines on appointment of vice-chancellors, reducing the work experience from 10 years as a professor in a university system or 10 years of experience in an equivalent position in a reputed research organisation and opening doors to non-academics for the VC’s post.

Mr Battu Satyanarayana, president of the Osmania University Teachers Association and TS Federation of University Teachers Association said, the removal of the Governor as chancellor means that the government will have the power to appoint anyone, including politicians who will have powers to interfere in university matters based on what suits their interests.

“The universities stand to lose their autonomy if the GO would have been allowed to continue without being challenged in court. The government has clearly violated guidelines and we are confident that it will not hold true in any court of law,” he said.

Two of the eight vice-chancellors appointed recently by the government — Prof. B. Raja Ratnam of Palamuru University and Prof. P. Sambiah of Telangana University — have less than the 10 years experience as professors, prescribed by the UGC as one of the requirements for appointment of a vice-chancellor.


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