Monday, January 25, 2010

Maintain status quo on 44 deemed universities: Supreme Court tells Central Government

Giving temporary relief to nearly 200,000 students, the Supreme Court directed the central government to maintain status quo on 44 deemed universities facing de-recognition for being run as family fiefdoms and not meeting requisite standards. The court also issued notices to all the 44 deemed universities as also their parent varsities to file their response on the government's decision to de-recognise them. At the same time, the court asked the UGC (University Grants Commission) to place its earlier report on the basis of which the Ministry had accorded deemed status to these institutions.

A bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and A K Patnaik passed the order notwithstanding the government assurance that no follow-up action would be taken against these institutions without court's consent. The students from these universities received a bolt from the blue last week when the Centre informed the apex court that it had decided to de-recognise the institutions following the report of an expert committee which went into the issue. Amidst strong protests from the aggrieved universities on the government's decision, the apex court assured them that it would not pass any adverse order without hearing them as the issue not only involved several institutions but also the fate of the affected students.

In a bid to assuage the students thrown into uncertainty, HRD minister Kapil Sibal had assured that not a single student will be adversely affected and that all of them will get a university degree. The court directed the Government to submit the reports of the Review Committee and the Task Force on the basis of which the HRD ministry had decided to crack the whip on the universities. The committee had found that these universities were being run as family fiefdoms rather than on academic considerations. It had found 44 such institutions having deficiencies and suggested that they should be given three years' time to rectify. Nearly 200,000 students are pursuing higher studies in these 44 institutions in 13 states which have been recommended for non-continuation of the deemed status as neither on past performance nor on their promise for the future have the attributes to retain the deemed status.

Source: The Times of India (Online Edition), January 25, 2010

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