For all those who thought UGC is an autonomous body, here is another nail in its coffin. UGC for some time has been going after marquee institutions on a purported illegality. While it has miserably failed in improving the quality of education, it was not found wanting in its effort to disrupt quality education by institutions with sound intent and integrity. On its hit list were institutions like BARC, BITS Pilani, BITS Mesra, TIFR etc.
National Institute of Science Education and Research(NISER), which is affiliated to Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI), a deemed to be university was on notice to close the Centre for having started operations without getting requisite approvals from UGC. It is a different matter that they applied for permission in 2009 and no one even looked at it. There was neither the intent nor the urgency shown to make it a part of our formal education structure. According to UGC, It was an ‘illegal’ institution. Just 3 months back NISER was issued a notice to close the institution too!
Earlier this year, when the ‘autonomous’ body called UGC learnt that Prime Minister Modi is inaugurating the permanent campus of the ‘illegal’ NISER, it swung into action. The PM cannot be inaugurating an illegal institution! The PMO informed the UGC 3 weeks back of the PM’s impending inauguration; UGC scheduled an inspection on 25th January and the approval came on 3rd February. And nothing happened for seven loooong years. It is time that other institutions also call PM to inaugurate their ‘permanent’ campus. No wonder that the Karnataka High Court, in its order in May 2014 in a case filed by Manipal University accused UGC of conceding its powers of authoring regulations to the Central Government.
So much for UGC, illegality and its autonomous stature.