The Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it was well within its power under UGC rules to de-recognise the 44 deemed universities for allegedly failing to maintain requisite quality education.
Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, appearing before a Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma, said that under the UGC Act, the Commission was empowered to accord the deemed status to universities.
"The power to accord recognition of deemed status included the power to de-recognise them" for failing to meet the standards, he submitted before the Bench.
Later, senior counsel KK Venugopal assailed the Centre's proposal to de-recognise the 44 universities as illegal on the ground that such a power was vested only with UGC.
He questioned the very constitution of the Professor PN Tondon Committee which had recommended de-recognition of the universities. The arguments would resume ton Wednesday.
The review committee headed by Professor PN Tondon had earlier recommended derecognition of the 44 institutes across the country on the ground that they had failed to meet the standards required for sustaining the status of a "deemed" university.
According to the universities, Professor Tondon himself was heading a deemed university and it was not appropriate for him to head the high-powered committee which sought de-recognition of the aggrieved universities.
The apex court had earlier directed the Centre to put on the internet the recommendations of the Tondon Committee and the Task Force and asked the aggrieved varsities to file their response on the Centre's decision to de-recognise them.