Supreme Court Directs 'deemed To Be Universities' To Shun "university" Tag
Supreme Court directs 'Deemed to be Universities' to shun ‘University’ tag:
The Supreme Court of India has directed all the so-called ‘Deemed to be Universities’ to drop the ‘University’ tag from their names. Several of such institutions through their lobby group ‘Education Promotion Society for India’ had filed a petition in the Supreme Court and argued that as per the UGC Act, registrations can use the university tag in their names. However, the court directed in unambiguous terms that under the existing rules universities could only be created by State or Central Governments.
The court while dismissing a batch of 58 petitions filed by various ‘deemed to be universities’, categorically stated that if indeed these institutions are the ‘centres of excellence’, as argued by the lobby group, then there is no need to use the word ‘University’ in their names. The institutions argued that they had been using the ‘University’ word for several years and command respect & goodwill, which will be tarnished if they are forced to drop the tag of universities. According to the news reports, some prominent names have decided not to use the word University in their names after directives of the University Grants Commission. In fact, the latest directive of UGC mentioned in stern terms, that such ‘deemed to be universities’ had 24 hours to comply with this directive or they must be ready to face the action.
In all, 123 Institutions were reprimanded by UGC for using the word university in their names and were directed to correct this mistake as per the law of the land. The Supreme Court observed that ‘deemed to be university’ can award degrees but cannot use the word University by virtue of Section 23 of the UGC act. As per Dr Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman of All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), “It has been noted that some deemed-to-be universities, which are offering technical, engineering, architecture and pharmacy courses, are not following AICTE rules. Considering this, the Supreme Court has directed the UGC to monitor such institutions. Following this, UGC has issued fresh guidelines mandating AICTE approval from now on.”
After the latest verdict, such institutions have to comply with the orders of the regulatory body for increasing seats or starting a new course otherwise the degrees offered by such instructions will be suspended. Meanwhile, the engineering degrees obtained from a correspondence course from the ‘deemed to be universities’ in the past 16 years were also termed invalid by the court as the University Grants Commission (UGC) and AICTE did not approve distance learning programs in engineering studies. The difference between engineering colleges or private universities and ‘deemed to be universities’ lies in the fact that such deemed to be universities can conduct their own examinations, dictate their own syllabus and conduct admissions.
Consequent to the directions of Supreme Court, Prominent names like Delhi based National University of Educational Research and Planning and TERI University, and Karnataka's Lingaya’s University, Yenepoya University, Jain University and Christ University and Pune’s Symbiosis International University, amongst others; have decided to drop the ‘University’ word from their names.