The Supreme Court came out with a new directive over a PIL filed in 2006 questioning the standard of education being offered by most of the Deemed Universities across the Country. The Central government had cancelled the recognition of 44 Deemed universities on the basis of Tandon Committee report. The Hon’ Court has directed National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) to issue grade certificates to 41 Deemed universities who had faced de-recognition on the account of poor quality of education.
A Bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C Pant has asked the universities to submit their self-appraisal reports with 10 days to the Council and NAAC to grade the universities within eight weeks thereafter. Bench also directed the Council not to consider UGC regulations 2010 while grading the universities rather follow its own objective parameters. The final decision would be completely based on the grading done by the Council.
Justice Dipak Misra said, “The process cannot be kept in limbo. The NAAC has its own regulations which it is bound to follow. It should look into the matter and proceed as per the law.”
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on the behalf of Centre, asked for a three-month time for framing new guidelines and statutory rules for assessing the quality of education being offered by these institutions on the basis of their infrastructure, including faculty and research facilities. He further informed the Court that the government is bringing new system to grade universities after holding consultation with various stake-holders – University Grant Commission , All India Council for Technical Education and NAAC.
Senior Advocate Rajaeev Dhavan appealed to the bench that the quality assessment should not be done on the basis of UGC regulations as they have been rejected by two High Courts earlier. On the previous hearing, the Court had directed the government to brief these universities about the shortcomings in their infrastructure so that they could be subdued.
Prof. R. Sethuraman, SASTRA University vice-chancellor said in response to the decision, “The Supreme Court has rightly nailed the coffin by ignoring the Tandon Committee report and ordering NAAC to conduct inspection and submit its report. The government of India ignored the statutorily-empowered NAAC and relied on the arbitrary grades of the Tandon Committee which also upgraded from B to A deemed universities with unauthorised off-campus. The 9th and 10th Five-Year Plans and the UGC’s gazette notification dated January 19, 2013 had clearly delegated powers of conducting inspection and awarding grades by NAAC. The action of constituting the Tandon Committee and its report is superfluous, and the direction of the Supreme Court asking NAAC to conduct accreditation is in the larger interest of higher education.”
The next hearing has been schedule for 19 November.