Two lakh students of 44 deemed universities facing de-recognition can breathe a sigh of relief, for now. The Supreme Court has restrained the Centre from taking action against them till the matter is finally decided by it.
“We are conscious that each of you has thousands of students… nothing will happen to your institutions and students till final disposal of the matter,” the court ruled on Monday.
The status quo order came during the hearing of a public interest litigation by advocate Viplav Sharma, who alleged liberal grant of deemed status.
The court issued notices to the 44 universities, seeking their response, and schedlued the next hearing for March 8. It also directed the Human Resource Development Ministry to place on record the reports of the review committee and task force that formed the basis of the proposed action. Furthermore, it sought reports from the University Grants Commission (UGC) on these institutes.
‘Deemed’ status provides a university greater autonomy in matters of fixing syllabus and fees and appointing faculty. The tag, given to high-performers, is granted by the ministry on the UGC’s advice.
The ruling came despite Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati’s assurance that “there will be no automatic de-recognition” and the government will ensure students don’t suffer.
The universities argued that their status, granted by a statutory body like the the UGC, can’t be taken away on the advice of a non-statutory body like the government-appointed P.N. Tandon commission.