Deemed varsities:`What`s basis of de-recognition?`
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Last Updated: Wednesday, August 11, 2010, 23:29
New Delhi: The UGC today told the Supreme Court that it was essential for the central government to have sought its recommendations before embarking on de-recognising the 44 deemed universities in the country.

Responding to pointed queries from a Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma, senior counsel for UGC Rakesh Dwivedi, however, submitted that though it was essential for the Centre to seek the recommendations, yet, the government was not bound by the advice of the Commission.

"Can the government act without your recommendations?" the Bench said, to which the UGC counsel replied "though the central government has to seek the recommendations, they are not bound by it (recommendations.)"

The apex court, while adjourning the matter to September 28, directed the Centre to file individual affidavits vis-a-vis the 44 varsities explaining the basis adopted by the Tandon Committee to de-recognise them.

The UGC's submission assumes significance as the aggrieved varsities have moved the apex court mainly on the ground that the Centre cannot de-recognise them without the recommendations of the Commission and that the controversial Tandon Committee appointed by the government had no legal sanctity.

The Centre had earlier decided to de-recognise 44 deemed universities on the basis of the recommendations made by the Tandon Committee.

Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, however, defended the government's controversial proposal to de-recognise the 44 universities on the ground that it was well within its power to take the action if they fail to maintain requisite quality education.

During today's arguments, the Bench said though the proposal to de-recognise some of the universities could have been justified, yet the Centre could not brush every varsity with the same tar.

"All of them seemed to have been put in the same category. But you cannot bracket all of them in the same category.

"What were the parameters adopted by the Tandon Committee? What was the scale? Nobody is able to understand," the Bench observed.

Subramanium, however, submitted the committee had undertaken a rationale exercise and there was no malafide attached to its recommendation.

Though the apex court said it was willing to direct the Tandon Committee to give a fresh opportunity to the aggrieved universities to be heard, the latter pleaded that they were not keen on accepting the suggestion as they challenged the legal sanctity of the committee itself. The committee headed by Tandon 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, Tandon 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 Tandon 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 Tandon could head the committee.

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

According to the government, 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.


First Published: Wednesday, August 11, 2010, 23:29

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