SC issues Notice to Deemed Universities on Transfer Petition by MHRD relating to Deemed University Regulations, 2010

 

Supreme Court has issued Notice to Deemed Universities on a Transfer Petition filed by MHRD relating to transfer of Appeal filed by MHRD challenging the judgement passed by Karnataka High Court dated 22.05.2014, which quashed the University Grants Commission (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulation 2010 as ultravires to UGC Act, 1956 and Constitution of India.

University Grants Commission in the year 2010, has notified University Grants Commission (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulation 2010. The Deemed Universities felt that the Regulations interfered with the autonomy of the Institutions. The Regulations also in their view placed unreasonable restriction on rules relating to governance, admission, fee structure etc. Therefore, several Deemed Universities had challenged the provisions of the University Grants Commission (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2010 in different High Courts in India.

Tamilnadu

The Deemed Universities based in Tamilnadu made the first challenge. Though initially STATUS-QUO was granted in the matter, but later by a detailed Judgement, the challenge by Deemed Universities based in Tamilnadu was over ruled and the legality and validity of University Grants Commission (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulation 2010 was upheld. The Deemed Universities in Tamilnadu later challenged the Judgement pronounced by Single Judge before Division Bench. The matter is pending for determination before the Division Bench, however the Court has ordered that STATUS QUO will be maintained.

Karnataka

Following the suit, certain Deemed Universities in Karnataka also challenged the University Grants Commission (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulation 2010 in Karnataka High Court. In some of the Petition there, stay was granted on the Regulations and some the Court was pleased to order STATUS QUO in favour of the Petitioner as against UGC and MHRD. Later vide detailed Judgement dated 22.05.2014 the Hon’ble Court declared University Grants Commission (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulation 2010, was declared to be invalid and unconstitutional. UGC and MHRD have both filed appeals independently against the Judgement before Division Bench.

Punjab

One of the challenge was also filed before Punjab & Haryana High Court. The matter is pending consideration before the Hon’ble Court. Interim Order staying the Regulations have been passed.

Maharashtra [Aurangabad Bench]

Some of the Deemed Universities based in Maharashtra have also challenged the University Grants Commission (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulation 2010. Though as understood, no Interim Order has been passed in the matter.

Matter Sub-Judice- but UGC keeps amending these Regulations

While Interim Stay is prevailing in one High Court and another High Court has quashed the Regulations, UGC continued to amend the Regulations from time to time, which raised a critical issue as to, did UGC had the legal competency to amend the Regulations, while Courts in India hearing cases relating to challenge and Interim Order restraining UGC from enforcing the Regulations were prevailing and the Regulations were quashed.

Transfer Petition in Supreme Court

MHRD has now filed Transfer Petitions before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Transfer Petition (Civil) Nos. 1555-1561 of 2014 seeking transfer of the cases relating to challenge to University Grants Commission (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulation 2010 before Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. The Transfer Petition were called before the Hon’ble Supreme Court on 11.11.2014. The Supreme Court adjourned these matter on request of the Government to 18.11.2014. The matter was not listed thereafter for so many months.

Eventually, vide order dated 26.02.2014 and 29.03.2014 has issued notice on the Transfer Petition filed by MHRD. The notice is returnable in four weeks. The matter may now be listed on 29.04.2016.

EduLegaL View

University Grants Commission (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulation 2010 applies to all the Deemed Universities. Different High Courts in India took different view of the Regulations resulting in conflict as regards its validity and applicability, as one High Court said it is valid and another said it is invalid.

It is appropriate that considering the universal applicability of the Regulations, the Highest Court of the country rules on its validity and legality, so that issue is settled once and for all.

But again MHRD has take half-effort. It has filed transfer petition in respect of Petitions filed in Karnataka only and not in respect of petitions filed in other High Courts. This will again leave vacuum in the Regulatory Regime.

But till then, the arguments will continue !!!!

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

Supreme Court disallows revealing the name of examiner of answer sheets, says will create confusion, and unrest

The Apex while over-ruling a judgement of Kerala High Court has held that names of examiners of answer sheet cannot be disclosed under Right to Information Act, 2005.

Supreme Court was examining the issue,  whether  a student / candidate is entitled not only to get information with regard to the scan copies of his answer sheet, tabulation-sheet containing interview marks but is also entitled to know the names of the examiners who have evaluated the answer sheet.

Before dealing elaborately into the aspect of disclosure of name of examiner, the Court upheld that supply of scanned copies of answer-sheet of the written test, copy of the tabulation sheet and other information are rights of a candidate and should be provided by the public authority, as this will ensure a fair play in this competitive environment, where candidate puts his time in preparing for the competitive exams

However, Supreme Court did not concur with the findings of the High Court that an examining body is also bound to disclose the name of the examiner. The Supreme Court felt that disclosure of the identity of Examiners is in the least interest of the general public and also any attempt to reveal the examiner’s identity will give rise to dire consequences and will lead confusion and public unrest.

The Supreme Court, while concluding the judgement, observed as follows:

“The Commission has reposed trust on the examiners that they will check the exam papers with utmost care, honesty and impartially and, similarly, the Examiners have faith that 7 they will not be facing any unfortunate consequences for doing their job properly. If we allow disclosing name of the examiners in every exam, the unsuccessful candidates may try to take revenge from the examiners for doing their job properly. This may, further, create a situation where the potential candidates in the next similar exam, especially in the same state or in the same level will try to contact the disclosed examiners for any potential gain by illegal means in the potential exam.”

Supreme relied on principle of fiduciary relationship and held that relationship between the between the examining body and the examiner is fiduciary in nature which required to be protected and therefore any information shared between them is not liable to be disclosed.

EduLegaL View:

I agree with the Judgement of Supreme Court and at the same time I also feel that the fundamental right to transparency should not aim to make everything so transparent that it endangers the fundamental right of some other person. Every fundamental right has reasonable restriction and cannot be absolute.

It is of utmost importance that name of examiner is not disclosed, so that he exercises his competency in fearless atmosphere. In any case, the fact that an answer sheet is available to a student, he can always seek correction in his answer on sound principles without knowing the name of the examiner.

Good ! Great !

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

Class 10th pass student has right to get admitted in Class 11th in same School: Supreme Court

In a recent landmark ruling by Supreme Court, a student who has studied till Class 10th in any school has been granted the right to be admitted in Class 11th in the same school.

Though Supreme Court dismissed the Petition of a similarly placed students, due to peculiar facts and circumstance of the case, however, in landmark observation, is held as under:

“ Before parting with the order, it goes without saying that the students who study up to Class X in any school whether aided or non-aided, such students are entitled to get admission in Class XI in the same school unless he or she declines before the admission is closed. However, in which stream they are to be admitted, it depends upon their merits and performance that shall be decided by the school authority.”

In the present case, a student had filed case against a Chandigarh based private school for not giving admission in “medical stream” citing ‘low aptitude’ for the said stream, instead was offered “commerce stream”. The student being aggrieved had first approached the High Court unsuccessfully before filing SLP in Supreme Court.

EduLegaL View:

Many private school throw their Class 11th Standards open for public to attract meritorious students to improve results and standings. In this pursuit, a student having studied till class 10th in a school is denied the opportunity to continue in the School.

This Judgement echoes the larger cause of the student community. Class 11th and 12th being critical for a child’s future, it is important that a student is comfortable in the learning ecosystem. Sudden change on the basis of some aptitude test or scholastic evaluation may disturb a student, affecting his career.

However, many states in the country follow “Centralised Admission Process” for admission to class 11th. We need to understand the impact of this Judgement on such existing systems.

The Judgement is also balanced in the sense that it also entitles the School to decide the stream depending on merit and performance.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

 

 

 

 

 

Failed by Tandon Committee, passed by NAAC

Finally, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)  has brought some good news to several students of 38 Deemed Universities, which were sought to be de-recognised on the basis of the Tandon Committee report, as NAAC has assessed and graded these Deemed Universities after assessment by a robust scientific procedure.

In the year 2006, one Viplav Sharma, had filed a PIL in Supreme Court challenging the manner in which Deemed University status was granted to the Institutions u/s 3 of UGC Act, 1956. During the course of proceedings, MHRD had appointed a Committee headed by Dr. P N Tandon to review the  functioning of the Deemed Universities in  India.

In October 2009, a committee of experts, headed by PN Tandon, reviewed deemed universities and classified those under three categories, firstly 38 deemed universities which justified their continuation, second 44 deemed universities which needed to rectify deficiencies over a three year period and thirdly another 44 deemed universities which the committee felt don’t have the quality to continue the status and were recommended to de-recognised.

These 44 Deemed Universities then rushed to Supreme Court challenging the findings of the Tandon Committee and also the legality / validity of appointment of Tandon Committee. The case then continued for next 6 years, with clod looming large on the existence of these Deemed Universities.

The Supreme Court in the year 2014 without setting aside the Tandon Committee had asked UGC to consider the Reports and submits its own findings. Later, UGC was also taken to task by the Supreme Court for the manner in which it assessed the Deemed Universities, which was similar to that of Tandon Committee.

 

Eventually vide its Order dated 23.04.2015, SC had directed the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) to decide within two weeks the matter of accreditation of deemed universities, who were placed under category ‘C’ by the P N Tandon committee and were recommended for de-recognition of deemed status.

The direction of the Apex Court was significant in light go the fact that NAAC Executive Committee on January 5, 2013 that the council shall not assess and accredit the deemed universities whose cases are pending before the Supreme Court and will wait for the court’s decision.  The time for assessment and accreditation was extended from time to time on request by NAAC.

Finally on 08.09.2015, in a significant order, Supreme Court exempted the Deemed Universities to making a statement of compliance in respect of UGC [ Institutions Deemed to be Universities] Regulations, 2010, as the validity and legality of the Regulations was under challenge before judicial forums.

Resultantly, the C Category Deemed Universities submitted themselves to the process of assessment and accreditation. NAAC assesses Institutions on seven criteria as part of the assessment procedures:   1] Curricular Aspects;  2] Teaching-Learning and Evaluation 3] Research, Consultancy and Extension 4] Infrastructure and Learning Resources 5] Student Support and Progression 6] Governance, Leadership and Management 7] Innovations and Best Practices.

Institutions are graded for each Key Aspect under four categories, viz. A, B, C and D, denoting Very good, Good, Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory levels respectively. The summated score for all the Key Aspects under a Criterion is then calculated with the appropriate weightage applied to it and the GPA is worked out for the Criterion. The Cumulative GPA (CGPA), which gives the final Assessment Outcome, is then calculated from the seven GPAs pertaining to the seven criteria, after applying the prescribed weightage to each Criterion.

On the last hearing on 19.11.2015, the Court was informed that accreditation process has been completed. The Court then directed NAAC to publish the gradation result on its website.

In compliance of the order, NAAC has published the accreditation result of the Deemed Universities.

17 out of 38 Deemed Universities, which were recommended to be de-recognised by Tandon Committee has secured Grade “A”. 20 Universities have achieved Grade “B” and One University has been awarded “C” Grade.

EduLegal View:  

This conclusively proves that the “drawing room” method of out-sourced assessment by Tandon Committee was completely flawed. Eventually, the law of the country prevailed and Institutions have been given justice after long tiring struggle of 6 years.

In true words, meaning, mandate and manifestation of law and supremacy of a regulator has been achieved.

MHRD seeks transfer of several Petitions challenging UGC Deemed University Regulations, 2010 to SC

University Grants Commission in the year 2010, has notified University Grants Commission (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulation 2010, which was made applicable to prospective as well as existing Deemed Universities.   Several Deemed Universities had challenged the provisions of the University Grants Commission (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2010 in different High Courts in India. The Deemed Universities felt that the Regulations interfered with the autonomy of the Institutions. The Regulations also in their view placed unreasonable restriction on rules relating to governance, admission, fee structure etc.

The Deemed Universities based in Tamilnadu made the first challenge. Though initially STATUS-QUO was granted in the matter, but later by a detailed Judgement, the challenge by Deemed Universities based in Tamilnadu was over ruled and the legality and validity of University Grants Commission (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulation 2010 was upheld. The Deemed Universities in Tamilnadu later challenged the Judgement pronounced by Single Judge before Division Bench. The matter is pending for determination before the Division Bench, however the Court has ordered that STATUS QUO will be maintained.

Following the suit, certain Deemed Universities in Karnataka also challenged the University Grants Commission (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulation 2010 in Karnataka High Court. In some of the Petition there, stay was granted on the Regulations and some the Court was pleased to order STATUS QUO in favour of the Petitioner as against UGC and MHRD. Later vide detailed Judgement dated 22.05.2014 the Hon’ble Court declared University Grants Commission (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulation 2010, was declared to be invalid and unconstitutional. UGC and MHRD have both filed appeals independently against the Judgement before Division Bench.

One of the challenge was also filed before Punjab & Haryana High Court. Though no interim orders have been passed in the case, the matter is pending determination in the Court.

While Interim Stay was prevailing, UGC continued to amend the Regulations from time to time, which raised a critical issue as to, did UGC had the legal competency to amend the Regulations, while Courts in India hearing cases relating to challenge and Interim Order restraining UGC from enforcing the Regulations were prevailing.

MHRD has now filed Transfer Petitions before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Transfer Petition (Civil) Nos. 1555-1561 of 2014 seeking transfer of all the cases relating to challenge to University Grants Commission (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulation 2010 before Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.

The Transfer Petition were called before the Hon’ble Supreme Court on 11.11.2014. The Supreme Court adjourned these matter on request of the Government to 18.11.2014. The matter is now scheduled to come up before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India on 03.02.2015.

EduLegaL View

University Grants Commission (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulation 2010 applies to all the Deemed Universities. Different High Courts in India took different view of the Regulations resulting in conflict as regards its validity and applicability, as one High Court said it is valid and another said it is invalid. It is appropriate that considering the universal applicability of the Regulations, the Highest Court of the country rules on its validity and legality, so that issue is settled once and for all.

But till then, the arguments will continue !!!!

UGC appoints Committee to inspect 7 Deemed Universities on SC direction

UGC following the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India passed on 26.09.2014 has decided to appoint a Committee to inspect 7 Deemed Universities, which were found to be unfit to continue as Deemed University, in the Report submitted by its Sub-Committee headed by Mr. H Devraj.

Earlier, the Supreme Court in its Order dated 26.09.2014 had taken exception to the methodology adopted by UGC of presentation and photographic representation to evaluate the Deemed Universities and had directed UGC to conduct physical inspection and submit Report within 12 weeks.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court disapproving the process of assessment by photographs and presentations observed in its order dated 26.09.2014 had observed as under:

“ The singular grievance that has been agitated in the aforesaid I. As. is   that   the       UGC instead of taking recourse to physical inspection of the concerned institution, have adopted an innovative modus operandi by inspecting   through     photographs and video camera. We cannot conceive of such a situation.

 In our considered opinion, inspection would mean in all its connotative expanse physical inspection from all scores and spectrums. Neither the petitioners can have a restrictive or constricted meaning on the same nor the UGC can put a gloss over it. A physical inspection is fundamentally a physical inspection and we so repeat at the cost of repetition.”

While disapproving the process of photographs and video-presentations, the Apex Court directed UGC to inspect the institutions, who had filed Applications within a period of 12 weeks. It also directed that after the inspection is conducted, UGC shall point out the defects/defaults to the concerned Institution allowing them reasonable time to rectify the same.

UGC in its meeting dated 17.10.2014 discussed the modalities for implementation of the directives of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and so also of the inspection and decided to constitute a Committee, which would be headed by Prof. Dr. Jaspal Singh Sandhu, Secretary, UGC. Other members of the Committee include, Shri S P Goyal, Joint Secretary, MHRD, Prof. Dr. O P Kalra, Prof. Dr. M P Poonia, Prof. Ramesh Dadhich.

UGC has also resolved that the Committee should endeavor to submit the Report within the time frame stipulated given by the Supreme Court, which was 12 weeks from 26.09.2014.

mail@edulegal.in

SC disapproves UGC process of inspection by photographs and video-camera

UGC, the apex regulator of Higher Education in the country has found itself in line of fire from the Apex Court of the Country.

While hearing Petitions filed by some Deemed Universities, Supreme Court had earlier sought response from UGC as to modus operandi followed for assessment of Deemed Universities. It was hearing Application questioning the process of assessment of UGC by aid of photographs and presentations.

The matter after being adjourned on 23.09.2014 and 25.09.2014, was heard finally on 26.09.2014.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court disapproving the process of assessment by photographs and presentations observed in its order dated 26.09.2014 as under:

“ The singular grievance that has been agitated in the aforesaid I. As. is   that   the  UGC instead of taking recourse to physical inspection of the concerned institution, have adopted an innovative modus operandi by inspecting through photographs and video camera. We cannot conceive of such a situation.

 In our considered opinion, inspection would mean in all its connotative expanse physical inspection from all scores and spectrums. Neither the petitioners can have a restrictive or constricted meaning on the same nor the UGC can put a gloss over it. A physical inspection is fundamentally a physical inspection and we so repeat at the cost of repetition.”

While disapproving the process of photographs and video-presentations, the Apex Court directed UGC to inspect the institutions, who had filed Applications within a period of 12 weeks. It also directed that after the inspection is conducted, UGC shall point out the defects/defaults to the concerned Institution allowing them reasonable time to rectify the same.

The Apex Court has further clarified that it is only after some reasonable time has been granted to the inspected University to rectify the defect, the Report shall be submitted to Central Government and the Court.

EduLegaL View:

The Central Government relying on the photographs and presentations method of P N Tandon Committee painted an ugly picture of Deemed Universities in India for last 5 years. Did it ever make sense??? The Deemed Universities suffered.

It is now bye bye Tandon Committee and Task Force !! 

SC questions the Assessment Process of UGC of 41 Deemed Universities

EduLegaL, while reporting the earlier development of regarding constitution of Committee by UGC to assess the Deemed Universities on basis of presentation , it had raised a question:

“ Is UGC doing the same mistake, as was done by Tandon Committee? The main allegation against Tandon Committee was that it was an ARM CHAIR REPORT prepared on basis of Power Point Presentation and Speech Skills and not inspection / visit to the Campus of the Universities. UGC had approached Supreme Court seeking extension of time with the plea to inspect the Deemed Universities. Where is that inspection? UGC should inspect the Campuses and then submit a Report. A Report prepared on basis of Power Point Presentation and Speech Skills generally cannot reflect the true position.”

It seems that the apprehensions of EduLegaL has come true, as some of the Deemed Universities have questioned the assessment process adopted by UGC before Supreme Court primarily consisting of presentations and video recordings.

The Deemed University matter was listed before Supreme Court on 19.09.2014 and lawyers appearing on behalf of the Deemed Universities informed the Supreme Court that review done by UGC is flawed as it is done on basis of audi-video presentation and not physical inspection.

The Supreme Court has directed UGC to reply by Tuesday. The matter will now again come up for hearing on 23.09.2014. In the meanwhile, UGC is also considering the report submitted by its Sub-Committee in its meeting to held on 22.09.2014. In the light of developments on 19.09.2014, UGC’s meeting becomes an all-important affair.

It was reported in the media, the said Committee, which followed the same process as that of Tandon Committee almost, concurred with the findings of the Tandon Committee.

Earlier, when UGC was granted time by the Hon’ble Supreme Court vide its order dated 05.05.2014, it was granted for the purpose of physical verification of the infrastructure and campus of the Deemed Universities. Later UGC changed its approach and decided to hold the review on basis of presentation, which is not correct approach.

Over to the Hon’ble Supreme Court for hearing on 23.09.2014 – Let us see !!!

mail@edulegal.in

SC extends time till Sept. 30, asks UGC to complete assessment of C Category Deemed Universities

The Supreme Court on Friday granted time till September 30 to the University Grants Commission to complete the assessment of 41 Deemed Universities, which were placed in C Category by Tandon Committee.

While passing Interim Order on 21st January 2014, the Supreme Court had granted 2 months’ time to UGC to complete the assessment and submit the Report.

Later, UGC preferred an application before the Court and expressed its desire to visit the University Campus for the purpose of assessment and the request was accordingly allowed by Supreme Court in its order dated 5th May 2014. In such case, the time limit was further allowed till 31st July 2014.

UGC while discussing this issue on 13th June 2014 decided to constitute a Committee to undertake assessment of the 41 Category ‘C’ Institutions Deemed to be Universities. All the 41 C Category Deemed to be Universities were to appear before the Committee to make a video presentation of their institution and to respond to any queries. The Commission was to assess the presentation of each Deemed to be University and arrive at reasoned conclusion.

Later in its meeting on 22nd July 2014, it transpired that though the Sub-Committee had completed the hearing of all the 41 Institutions Deemed to be Universities; however, it was in the process of preparing its recommendations which was likely to take some more time. It was accordingly decided that a request may be made before the Hon’ble Supreme Court for further extension of two months time beyond 31st July, 2014 for submission of advice by the UGC to the Government of India.

A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Vikramajit Sen heard the application of UGC seeking extension of time and passed following orders:

This is an application for extension of time to comply with the order. Having heard learned counsel for the parties, time stands extended till September 30, 2014. Needless to say no further extension shall be granted.”

The Hon’ble Supreme Court has been clear in its observation that this is the last extension, which is being granted.