Supreme Court comes down heavily on UGC for delaying physical inspection of deemed universities
New Delhi, Jan. 13: From the ongoing hearing in a writ petition in Supreme Court relating to the deemed universities created by the Central government, it has come to light that the University Grants Commission continues to delay inspections and had adopted the “innovative modus operandi” of inspecting the concerned institutions through photographs and video camera.
During an earlier hearing in this case (on September 26, 2014), the Supreme Court had categorically stated that the process (for inspection) adopted by the UGC was not appreciated. At that time the court had directed that the institutions covered in the Interlocutory Applications (filed in this case) shall be inspected by the UGC within a period of 12 weeks. After the inspection is conducted, it would be an obligation of the UGC to point out the defects/defaults so that the institutions could rectify the same promptly. Thereafter the recommendations were to be submitted to the Central Government and also were to be filed before the apex court Court along with the recommendations of the UGC.”
After these directives were issued, an application was filed by Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar, Uttarakhand, making certain prayers. Noting the prayers in the application, it was directed by the apex court that the University Grants Commission should send a team for inspection of Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya and file a report before the Court within a period of three weeks and the report shall indicate whether the University can be categorized as ‘C’/’B’/’A’ depending upon the criteria. It was also observed by the court that it would restrain itself from grading the university as it is in the domain of the U.G.C.
On Jan 8, an application was filed by the University Grants Commission asserting that it is not the U.G.C. which can make the categories, but the Central Government. At this juncture, Additional Solicitor General appearing for the Union of India, also submitted that it is the Central Government which categorizes the universities into different categories.
Responding to these submissions, in the UGC-deemed University related petition, a two judge bench of the Apex Court comprising of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Vikramjit Sen last Thursday drew attention to an earlier order of October 27, 2014 where it had directed: “After the inspection report is filed and the gradation is determined, appropriate order can be passed. From this paragraph, the apex Court has said in its latest order, it is absolutely clear as day that this Court had not meant that it is the UGC which would categorize. The Indication of criteria is in the realm of recommendation by the Tandon Committee constituted by the Central Government, the apex court emphasised.
The Supreme Court in its order of January 8, 2015 has brought on record that “The real thrust of the matter is the time consumed by the UGC.’ Drawing attention to observations by the counsels appearing in this case,” the court has said, “Dr. Dhawan would submit that the UGC cannot sleep like Rip Van Winkle. Mr. Maninder Singh, senior counsel appearing for the UGC, except expressing his helplessness, cannot justify the action. The learned counsel would only pray for extension of time. We can appreciate the plight of Mr. Singh when UGC is in real slumber.”
The Supreme Court in its latest order has directed that the directions given by the previous orders for physical inspection and the steps taken thereafter, shall be carried out from all spectrums within four weeks. The Central Government shall express its views prima facie within a week after that. The apex court has also made it clear that no extension shall be granted to the UGC or to the Central Government.
The court has directed the Centre to decide the fate of deemed universities on the basis of UGC recommendations after physical inspection of the institutes.
The court has brought on record that “non-inspection in toto” of seven universities–Maharishi Markandeshwar University, Mullana, Ambala, Haryana, Manav Rachna International University, Faridabad, Haryana, Institute of Advanced Studies in Education, Churu, Rajasthan, Academy of Maritime Education and Training, Anna Nagar, Chennai, Bharath Institute of Higher Education & Research, Selaiyur, Chennai, Ponnaiyah Ramajayam Institute of Science & Technology (PRIST), Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu and Vinayaka Mission’s Research Foundation, Salem, Tamil Nadu–is neither appreciable nor supportable. Apart from the these Universities, the other University, namely, Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar,Uttarakhand, shall also be inspected.
The matters have been listed for next hearing on February 23, 2015