Can de-recognise deemed varsities: Centre to SC

The Centre today told the Supreme Court that it was well within its power under UGC rules to de-recognise the 44 deemed universities for allegedly failing to maintain requisite quality education.

Last Updated: Aug 03, 2010, 21:57 PM IST

New Delhi: The Centre today told the Supreme
Court that it was well within its power under UGC rules to
de-recognise the 44 deemed universities for allegedly failing
to maintain requisite quality education.

Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, appearing before a
Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma, said that
under the UGC Act, the Commission was empowered to accord
the deemed status to universities.

"The power to accord recognition of deemed status
included the power to de-recognise them" for failing to meet
the standards, he submitted before the Bench.

Later, senior counsel K K Venugopal assailed the Centre`s
proposal to de-recognise the 44 universities as illegal on the
ground that such a power was vested only with UGC.

He questioned the very constitution of the Professor P
N Tondon Committee which had recommended de-recognition of the
universities. The arguments would resume tomorrow.

The review committee headed by Professor P N Tondon had
earlier recommended derecognition of the 44 institutes across
the country on the ground that they had failed to meet the
standards required for sustaining the status of a "deemed"
university.

According to the universities, Professor Tondon himself
was heading a deemed university and it was not appropriate for
him to head the high-powered committee which sought
de-recognition of the aggrieved universities.

The apex court had earlier directed the Centre to put on
the internet the recommendations of the Tondon Committee and
the Task Force and asked the aggrieved varsities to file
their response on the Centre`s decision to de-recognise them.

The Bench had also agreed to examine the validity of the
government`s decision to de-recognise the varsities as the
institutions claimed that under the statutory rules, it was
only the UGC which has got the power to strip them of their
deemed status. It also agreed to examine the issue whether
Prof Tondon could head the committee.

The Union HRD Ministry had denied the allegations of the
institutes that they were not given sufficient opportunity
to explain their academic performance before deciding to
de-recognise them.

Defending its decision, the Centre, in its additional
affidavit, had said its high-powered review committee and task
force were more concerned with the academic excellence of
these universities rather than infrastructural facilities.

The HRD ministry said the universities sought to be
de-recognised were being run as family fiefdoms rather than
as institutions of academic excellence which they claim to
be.

PTI