SC panel slams 44 deemed universities

44 deemed universities sought to be de-recognised by the Centre, a Supreme Court-appointed panel justified.

New Delhi: In a fresh setback to 44 deemed
universities sought to be de-recognised by the Centre, a
Supreme Court-appointed panel concurred with the earlier
review committees that these institutions lacked requisite
standards to justify their "deemed" status.

In a report submitted to the apex court - the `Committee
of Officers` said that it "finds no reason to deviate from the
conclusions drawn by the Committee of Experts, which comprised
of academic experts."
An estimated two lakh students are pursuing various
courses in these universities spread across the country.

The three-member panel of Ashok Thakur, NK Sinha and SK
Ray was constituted by the apex court on January 11 after
the aggrieved universities challenged HRD Ministry`s move to
strip them of their deemed status pursuant to the
recommendations of the "review committee" and the expert
committee headed by Prof Tandon.

The Tandon Committee had placed these varsities in
category "C" to indicate that they were not fit to retain
their "deemed" status as they failed to meet the parameters
laid down by the UGC and were being run as personal fiefdoms.

According to the apex court panel, most of the
universities had admitted that they were merely colleges
affiliated to the respective state universities and lacked
functional autonomy for launching new courses in "emerging
areas" or conduct research activities and PhDs.

The government had assured the apex court bench of
justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma that it would
safeguard the academic interests of the students.
A similar line was adopted by the medical universities
that they could not take up any innovative programmes without
the prior consent of the Medical Council of India (MCI).

"By way of general remark, it is mentioned that none of
the institutions deemed to be universities placed in Category
`C` by the review committee seems to conform to the norms as
laid down in the UGC guidelines (2000) in respect of such
institutions.

"It has to be borne in mind that the review committee
only evaluated the institutions deemed to be university on
whether the particular institution was really working as a
university or was it more like a college, technical
institution.

"In fact most of them have stated before this Committee,
during the course of hearing, that the institutions were
mostly colleges affiliated to the state universities due to
which they were not able to innovate courses including courses
in emerging area of knowledge or take up research/PhD
programmes as the institutions did not have the autonomy to do
so," the panel told the apex court.

However, the panel also placed before the apex court the
replies of all the 44 deemed universities some of whom claimed
that they had made significant progress in devising innovative
courses.

The HRD Ministry had earlier constituted a review
committee and an expert committee to review the functioning of
these institutions following a PIL in the apex court that they
lacked basic infrastructure and course curriculum.

PTI

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