The Delhi high court has directed Punjab Technical University (PTU) not to admit students under its distance education programme till a specific approval is obtained from the Distance Education Council (DEC).
High court chief justice VK Jain, while disposing of an application filed by Delhi resident Tilak Singh against the university, said PTU was granted approval by the DEC of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) for the period from 2007 onwards.
"It appears that from the current academic year, the said approval has not been extended. The DEC, vide a communication on October 12, 2012, has also directed PTU not to admit any student till the application for extension or approval of recognition is pending. In spite of the above communication, it appears that PTU has published an advertisement on December 3, 2012, calling for applications of students," the court said.
"In our opinion, in the absence of any recognition or approval, the university cannot make any admission and that too when it has been specifically told by the DEC that the students should not be admitted. Hence, we direct PTU not to admit any student pursuant to the December 3, 2012, advertisement without specific approval from the DEC," the chief justice ruled.
The court had issued a notice to PTU, returnable on March 11.
Earlier, the lawyers for the petitioner submitted that PTU was playing with the careers of lakhs of students and had duped them of crores of rupees on the pretext of such admissions carried out throughout India. They said about 20,000 students were admitted and Rs 20 crore collected as fee, even though the university was barred by the DEC from conducting fresh admissions till the grant of requisite approval.
The petitioner alleged that these students would not be eligible to get central government jobs as per law and a section of the universities would not consider their degrees valid for seeking admissions to higher courses.
Vice-chancellor (VC) Rajneesh Arora, in his November 6, 2012, communiqué to all learning and regional centres, said that even before the DEC letter was received by the university, its contents were leaked in the public domain through emails by some miscreants. "PTU has written a letter to the DEC, explaining that it is practically impossible to stop admissions since it's not in the interests of students and PTU constituents," he said.
Arora, while defying the DEC order, went ahead to state that PTU was fully committed to ensuring continuity of its activities, including admissions, and would fully protect interests of its students and learning centres. "Offering these courses in the current form is fully legitimate and within the university's powers. It has been verified that the DEC is meant for the overall development of distance education in the country and does not have jurisdiction over other universities to stop admissions," Arora had said.
"A section of the universities is trying to take advantage of this situation," he added.