Prior approval of state government is not required to set up new colleges on a permanent no-grant-in-aid basis, ruled the Bombay high court on Wednesday.
The university concerned can grant an affiliation to such a new college at its level if there are no financial implications for the state government, the court added. The court was hearing a petition filed by a public trust, Social Society, Morba, which intends to start a new college for women at a small village in Mangaon tehsil of Raigad district. The trust had submitted its proposal for starting the college on a permanent no-grant-in-aid basis in October 2007, and Mumbai University had accorded an in-principle approval to the proposal in January 2008. However, in November 2010, a section officer from the higher and technical education department informed the trust that its proposal could not be considered in view of the state government’s policy of not granting permission to any new arts, science and commerce college in the academic year 2010-11. The trust had moved the court challenging the communication and the insistence on submitting the proposal to the state government.
“If an institution, like a petitioner trust, intends to start a new college on permanent no-grant-in-aid basis, the question of obtaining prior approval from state government does not arise,” observed the division bench of justice AM Khanvilkar and justice Mridula Bhatkar.
The trust had relied on a judgment delivered by the high court 11 years ago while deciding on a dispute pertaining to the increase in divisions in a college. The court had then interpreted the concerned legal provisions and held that, “The University is the final arbiter.. and it need not go back to the state government for approval where no financial implications are involved for the state.”
The bench extended the ruling to opening of new colleges and directed Mumbai University to decide on the plea of the Social Society seeking affiliation before June 15.