44 deemed universities facing closure get apex court breather

Last Updated: Tue, Jan 11, 2011 14:20 hrs

New Delhi, Jan 11 (IANS) In a temporary relief to 44 deemed universities that were facing the prospect of derecognition, the Supreme Court Tuesday asked the central government to offer them another opportunity to remove deficiencies in infrastructure.

The apex court bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Deepak Verma passed the order after recording a statement by Attorney General G. Vahanvati that each of the 44 deemed universities would be issued notices pointing out deficiencies, as mentioned in the P.D. Tandon committee report.

The committee was set up in July 2009 by the central government to probe deficiencies in infrastructure, faculty and other facilities of the institutions. It gave its report in October 2009.

The attorney general told the court that after getting their replies, these institutions would be given a personal hearing and, if necessary, these would be inspected before an order is passed.

The attorney general made the statement after the court during the pre-lunch session of the hearing asked him to check with the government if it was willing to give another opportunity to these 44 universities to set their house in order.

The court gave the central government two weeks' time to issue notices and another two weeks to these universities to reply to the notices.

The court asked Vahanvati to submit a report April 25, 2011. The next hearing would take place May 3.

'If some (institution) fails to qualify to be a deemed university then what would be the status of the students. We don't want the future of these students (to be left) in the lurch,' the court said.

The court observed that 'in the garb that they (deemed universities) offer two or more additional courses, they can't be denied their deemed university status'.

The court said that its earlier order of status quo would continue.

The court changed the word 'order' in the attorney general's statement to report on the objection of senior counsel Rajiv Dhawan. The senior counsel told the court that the word 'order' reflected an authority and involved an element of legal finality.

Petitioner Viplab Sharma's counsel Sanjay Hedge told the court that these 44 universities were not complying with its earlier order that they should inform every student taking admission about the status of their case before the apex court.

The court has been hearing since 2006 a plea seeking strict regulations of deemed universities. The fate of the 44 deemed universities will decide the future of nearly two lakh students.

More from Sify: