CIC chides UGC for withholding information on unrecognised degrees

The CIC has pulled up the UGC for not sharing complete information about a case of cheating against a deemed University.

CIC chides UGC for withholding information on unrecognised degrees

 New Delhi: The CIC has pulled up the UGC for not sharing complete information about a case of cheating against a deemed University, chided it for being a "post office" and "vehemently defending" the institution facing allegations of invalid medical degrees.

Issuing showcause notice to explain why maximum penalty of Rs 25,000 was not imposed on their officials for withholding information sought by RTI applicant, Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu noted that the CPIO of the UGC was defending the University as if he was its "hired counsel".

Acharyulu said it appears that the UGC office has simply acted as "post office" to transfer letters to the University.

"The Commission noticed that there was no action on the complaints raised by the appellant regarding non-recognition of the degree, sufferings of 42 students, collection of Rs 40 lakh from each student as against declared fee of Rs 3.5 lakh, the cheating case registered by a student, etc. The University also did not respond to any of the letters written by the UGC," the Information Commissioner said.

Acharyulu said it is strange that CPIO of the regulatory authority was arguing on behalf of the deemed to be University instead of explaining measures taken by UGC against varsity as per guidelines and recommendations of Tandon Committee.

"The Commission finds it highly unreasonable that the CPIO was vehemently defending the VMRF University, as if he was hired counsel for that University, citing that the deemed universities have challenged the Tandon Committee report in the court of law," he noted.

The case relates to petition given by one R Natarajan who wanted to know if a complaint has been received by the UGC against Salem-based Vinayaka Missions?University about alleged "invalid" medical degrees given to the students.

The UGC claimed in its response that no such complaint was received from Selva Kumar. The First Appellate Authority in the UGC forwarded the appeal against the decision to the 'deemed' University.

"The inaction of the respondent authority is glaring and there was no effort to use regulatory power to take corrective measures or to get the information sought. The appellant and students are left to their fate to be the victims of the actions of the VMRF University," he said.

During the hearing, Acharyulu noted that, in fact, an FIR was registered by Selva Kumar against the authorities of Vinayaka Missions Research Foundation under sections 406, 465, 468, 471 and 420 IPC and violation of Information Technology Act, a copy of which was sent by the applicant.

"The issue is very serious as the medicos complained that their degree of Bachelor in Medicine has not been recognised after they studied it for four years paying huge fee.

"They also complained that the medical graduates from this University were not being admitted in higher education courses off shore in different countries," Acharyulu pointed out.

Acharyulu said the RTI application, number of letters written by the appellant and the FIR reveal several serious issues which the UGC should have taken cognisacne of and acted promptly.  

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