Friday, August 27, 2010

CVC asks MHRD to furnish dossier on deemed universities

Finally, Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has got going on the deemed university mess. It has raised the most fundamental question about the experts sent by University Grants Commission (UGC) who had recommended deemed university status to higher educational institutions. CVC has asked the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to furnish details about the manner in which UGC constituted its expert committee. It has sought clarifications whether the decision to set up the expert committee was taken by an individual or was the collective one by the panel. CVC wants to know about the number of deemed universities that have been set up in the past five years, and names of the people who were frequently involved in the expert committee as well as names of all those who were part of it.

CVC sources said the commission had written to the ministry nearly three months ago and only now the ministry has forwarded the query to UGC. On the basis of UGC's reply, the ministry will forward the details to CVC. Sources in UGC confirmed receiving the CVC query. It could be the basis of a comprehensive inquiry on the setting up of deemed universities, a CVC source said.

The fact that the objectivity of expert committee could be questionable since the entire cost of travel allowance and dearness allowance of the expert committee was not borne by UGC but by the respective institutes that were inspected by the panel members. UGC has stated this while replying to an RTI query by the TOI correspondent. Besides, expert committees expenses being borne by respective institutes and not UGC weakens the case of deemed universities in the Supreme Court. Lawyers, who are pleading for the deemed universities, have been arguing that the view of UGC's expert committee should be considered final, and it has more legal bearing than the review committee set up by the MHRD.

Deemed universities have been arguing that the ministry's review committee that looked into their functioning and found 44 of them to be unsuitable is illegal. They claim that under the UGC Act, deemed universities were set up on the basis of the report of its expert committee, and, consequently, the deemed status can only be revoked by UGC.

Source: The Times of India, August 27, 2010
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