UGC claims its advice must before government action against varsity

New Delhi, Aug 11 (Calcutta Tube) The University Grants Commission (UGC) Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the government could act in any matter related to a varsity, including recognition or derecognition, only after its recommendation.

The UGC said its recommendation in matters related to the status of a university were not binding on the central government.

The apex body for regulating universities told the court that the government may or may not accept its recommendation or even call for more inputs on its own while taking a decision on the status of a deemed university.

An apex court bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Deepak Verma was told this during the hearing of petitions filed by 44 deemed universities challenging the Tandon Committee report which had recommended the termination of their deemed university status.

Meanwhile, the court asked the central government to file its reply to the petitions by 44 deemed universities faced with prospects of losing their current status on the basis of Tandon committee report. The government will file its reply on each of the deemed universities individually.

The court passed its order after the petitioner universities declined the its (court’s) offer that the central government would issue them a fresh show cause notice and the aggrieved universities could submit their replies to the same.

The court suggested that if needed central teams could visit these deemed universities for inspection.

The senior counsel Fali Nariman, appearing for one of the deemed universities under threat of derecognition, said: ‘We don’t want a truncated decision (that is based on the recommendations of the Tandon Committee report).’

He said that the UGC was an autonomous body overseeing the functioning of the universities and only its decision about their status was valid.

Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium told the court that the government was not going to turn its back on the Tandon Committee.

He said that it was the government which had the final word on the status of the universities, including deemed universities in the instant case.

‘I want to be clear that if my friends (Nariman and other senior counsel) want to get rid of Tandon Committee then it is not acceptable to us,’ said Subramanium.

At this, Justice Bhandari said that if we have the figure of 44 (deemed universities) then Tandon is there.

Senior counsel K.K. Venugopal wanted to include all the universities that were under the scanner of the Tandon Committee to be made party to the on going litigation.

Justice Deepak Verma said: ‘Why are you concerned about others. You satisfy us about yourself’.

The solicitor general intervened and said that this was not a fishing inquiry. ‘I don’t want to intimidate my friends. I have material (against them) in six volumes,’ he said.

The Tandon committee’s recommendation last year to derecognise the petitioner universities was accepted by the government in principal.

The court was hearing a matter related to a public interest litigation questioning the quality of educational facilities in deemed universities.

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