All courses offered by Open Universities in India will have to conform to University Grants Commission (UGC) norms, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday, while declaring a two-year bachelors’ degree invalid. The judgment will affect lakhs of students in Open Universities and distance education programmes across India.
A Bench headed by Justice S.B. Sinha declared as invalid the Masters’ degree of a Tamil Nadu man who completed his course 27 years ago. The Bench said N. Ramesh’s M.A. obtained through the Open University system from Annamalai University was not valid because his B.A. was not a three year course, as per UGC norms.
“The distinction between a formal system and informal system is in the mode and manner in which education is imparted ... The provisions of the UGC Act are binding on all Universities, whether conventional or open,” the court said.
With this judgment, all Open Universities would not have to meet the standard equivalent to a regular university. It would now mean a graduate course cannot be less than three years and the appointment of faculty has to be as per the UGC norms.