Lost in jurisdiction: Clueless agencies spar over degree

  • Jeevan Prakash Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 06, 2015 14:51 IST

University Grants Commission (UGC) rules prohibit universities from affiliating colleges outside their states, but Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU) Delhi, has granted affiliation to the College of Architecture of Delhi Technical Campus (DTC), a private institute, in Greater Noida. Interestingly, neither the human resource development ministry nor the UGC or Council of Architecture (CoA) are able to clearly pinpoint the violation or give answers on the validity of degrees awarded by the college.

According to UGC’s notification dated June 27, 2013 with regard to territorial jurisdiction, a state university cannot grant affiliation to any college beyond the state’s geographical boundaries even if the university’s own act allows it to do so.

When Ashok Goel, a veteran architect based in Delhi realised the GGSIPU (which comes under the Delhi government) was violating UGC’s notification by granting affiliations to DTC, he decided to file an RTI asking the UGC to confirm the legal status of degrees awarded to DTC students.

To UGC’s response that the degree would not be recognised, Goel again enquired if the UGC would stop the university from granting affiliations. UGC’s reply to that was: “UGC will take action on receipt of specific complaint.”

Goel then filed complaints with five authorities, namely, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), AII India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Council of Architecture (CoA), UGC and Directorate of Education (DOE) Delhi. UGC’s response was attached with each complaint.

“Normally, when we file a complaint with one authority, it forwards it to the other one and the compliant keeps moving from one department to another. So I decided to agitate the issue in all the departments at one go to expedite action. The reason why I complained to AICTE was that DTC also offers degrees in technical courses,” says Goel.

MHRD transferred Goel’s complaint to UGC and UGC forwarded it to the registrar, GGSIPU, asking, “You are requested to send the comment on the complaint at the earliest.”

The UGC also wrote to the D0E, saying “The requested information doesn’t fall within my jurisdiction. The application in original is, therefore, being transferred to you under sub-section (3) of Section 6 of RTI Act, 2005, as the matter closely relates to you. In case it doesn’t fall under your jurisdiction, it may please be further transferred to the public authority to which the subject matter is more closely connected, directly, under intimation to the applicant.” DoE’s response to this was: “The requested information falls under the jurisdiction of your (UGC) deparment. Hence the application is being transferred to you under section 6(3) of the RTI Act 2005.”

AICTE, meanwhile, washed its hands of the case saying that universities were governed by the UGC and AICTE had no role to play.

The CoA, writing to Goel, said, “First of all, it is clarified that no separate action-taken report is required to be prepared or maintained under the Architects Act, 1972, on the communications/representation received at this office. However, as regards your letter dated 01.12.2014 to the chairman, UGC, and vice chancellor, Guru Gobind Singh IP University, for their perusal and necessary action at their end since Council is not the competent authority to deal with matters related to affiliation with universities.”

Justifying the affiliation to DTC, Sunita Shiva, deputy registrar (affiliation), GGSIPU, said the university “is established by the government of NCT of Delhi vide ‘The Indraprastha Vishwavidyalaya Act 1998,’….Under section 5(21)(A), the university is empowered to establish and maintain colleges, institutions and such other centres of education, research, training and extension as deemed appropriate by the University and as per section 4(1) under this Act, the limits of the area within which the University shall exercise its power, shall be those of The National Capital Region Planning Board Act, 1985.”

On Goel’s question if action could be taken against GGSIPU for its reply, UGC responded with: “action has already been taken on your complaint (copy enclosed).” The copy was a letter from UGC to the GGSIPU registrar, asking for a “comment on the complaint at the earliest.”

Why this special treatment for private colleges?

Some CoA members and many college principals have alleged that the Council is promoting private colleges and is biased against government colleges. It’s quite evident from these two cases. While in the case of Delhi Technical Campus, despite UGC’s stand that its degree is not recognised, CoA doesn’t talk about withdrawing approval.However in case of the Chandigarh College of Architecture, it has gone beyond its jurisdiction and put the college in no-admission category.

Pradeep Bhagat, principal, CCA had raised this issue in a letter to MHRD on March 20, 2014 as he had written, “The CoA is blatantly allowing increase in students intake at first year level in fledgling private colleges of architecture which have been started less than 10 years ago… Rather than concerned about the quality of education and the facilities in these private institutions, the council in its own wisdom is choosing to target a 53-year-old government institution imparting quality architectural education for last five decades.”

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