UGC can continue imposing conditions on DUs: HC



Madurai: The Madras High Court bench has ruled that the University Grants Commission has the right to continuously impose conditions to make Deemed Universities maintain their quality as institutions of higher learning.

Justice K Chandru dismissing petitions filed by 14 deemed to be Universities and Tamil Nadu Deemed Universities Association challenging the UGC (institutions to be deemed Universities) Regulations 2010, said institutions had willingly executed a Memorandum of Association agreeing to abide by the UGC guidelines and could not now go back on it.

The rules aim at improving quality of education by reducing involvement of family members in managing institutions.

The court said, the concept of the Trust founder or founder having power to bring his family members does not arise having established a trust or society. "Once a trust is established, the role of founder is not of a proprietor but to maintain the objectives and ideals for, which the trust is formed. The founder is only a trustee and not proprietor."

Jusitce Chandru rejected the argument that family members of the founder, who has invested a huge amount in building the institution, could not be prevented from holding the post of chancellors and pro chancellors.

He said, the objective of the trust was to run educational Institutions of higher learning and not to have direct or remote control over the said institutions.

"Control by family members will negate the very purpose of learning and jeopardize autonomy of the Institutions, besides leading to an undesirable result as found out by a review committee appointed by the Centre," he said.

The UGC's review committee, said the number of Deemed Universities had risen from seven in 1970 to 130 in 2010, of which 87 had got University status. Family members control the institutions, leading to undesirable practice for management of the universities.

Of these 130 Deemed to be universities, only 38 justified their continuation as DU. All 14 petitioners were not in the list of 38 deemed universities.

The judge said, one should not find fault with rules to improve standards as these would only increase the prestige of Institutions. If the petitioners were unwilling to comply with them, they could opt to give up their status.

The petitioners were aggrieved by the rule that the chancellor should be an eminent educationist, and there shall be no pro chancellor. The admission of students should be made only on merit basis on an all India examination and free structure must be fixed in accordance with fee rules framed by the Centre.

The regulations also said, the universities should call themselves only as "Deemed to be university".

PTI