Deemed varsities:`What`s basis of de-recognition?`

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.

-PTI



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

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