The forty-four deemed universities facing de-recognition got a breather on Tuesday after the Centre assured the Supreme Court that it would issue notices to them and give them an opportunity to explain why their recognition should not be withdrawn.
The government had in December 2009 announced its proposal to de-recognise the universities for lack of appropriate academic infrastructure and faculty. Various petitions were filed before SC challenging the decision. The SC had issued a status-quo order, restraining the government from taking any action.
Appearing for the Centre, Attorney General GE Vahanvati gave the undertaking before a bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Deepak Verma saying the government would conduct physical verification of the universities and grant them individual hearing.
Vahanvati told the court the government would issue fresh individual notices to the universities and given them an opportunity to explain why they should not be derecognised.
The court gave the human resource development (HRD) ministry two weeks' time to issue the notice. It also gave two weeks to the universities to file their responses.
The government has to pass individual orders by April 23 and file a report before SC. The court, however, clarified that its earlier status-quo would continue. Vahanvati informed the bench that the government would examine afresh whether the universities should be allowed to have their prestigious tag or be stripped off it.
But HRD minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday evening said "there is no reconsideration by the government of its views".
"A committee of academics appointed by the government recommended withdrawal of deemed status from these 44 institutions and we said that we accept their report in principle. We stand by that position," Sibal told HT.
"We will issue show cause notices to these institutions and will decide what action to take within three months," the lawyer-turned politician said, emphasising the government "was obviously, always planning to issue show-cause notices before acting against any institute".
During the last few hearings, the government, while proposing derecognition of the universities had assured the court that it would protect the interest of the more than two lakh students, who would be affected by the move.