Supreme Court directs UGC to decide Fate of 44 Deemed Universities

New Delhi: Supreme Court of India has asked the University Grants Commission (UGC) to examine a report on 44 institutions recommended to be deprived of their deemed university status after their academic standard was found to be far from what was expected and decide their fate.

A bench of Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Vikramajit Sen said it was only concerned with the legality of the continuance of deemed university status with respect to the 44 institutions.

It said in its order passed Tuesday that there was “some conflict” between the report prepared by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and that of the Prof. P.N. Tandon committee.

Noting that there were three reports – one by the Tandon committee, another by the UGC and still another by the committee of officers, the court said the UGC “had no occasion to examine” the Tandon report and the other report has not been placed before the UGC.

The court said the UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2010, enables both the central government and the UGC to inspect the institutions which are deficient in terms of academic standards and infrastructure.

It directed the UGC to examine both Tandon’s and the other report.

The court said institutions were “free to raise their objections against the reports” and the UGC has to consider the same and take a decision in accordance with the law.

After examining the reports and hearing the 44 institutions, the court said the “UGC has then to tender its advice to the central government with its report”.

It, however, noted the UGC’s advice was not binding on the government “but has to be given due weight since the UGC is an expert statutory authority”.

The court also made it clear that it has not given its “stamp of approval to any of the reports and it is for the UGC to consider all the reports, with notice to the 44 institutions, in accordance with law”.

Tandon headed a committee set up to review existing institutions deemed to be universities. The committee in its report submitted in October 2009 divided the institutions into three categories.

In the first category, the report found their working satisfactory and recommended their continued status as deemed university.

In the second category, the committee found them deficient in some respect but recommended giving them three years time to graduate to the first category.

However, it said 44 institutions faced the prospect of being denotified as deemed universities, as they “neither on past performance nor on their promise for the future, have the attributes, in our considered opinion, to retain their status as universities”.