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.
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 !!
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 !!!
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.