New Delhi: The Human Resource Development Ministry of Narendra Modi government has upheld its predecessor UPA government's decision to blacklist 44 universities and has rejected University Grants Commission (UGC)'s recommendations to clear 34 of them.
The Smriti Irani led HRD ministry has termed the UGC's report as “flimsy” and “untenable”.
The ministry has submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating, “UGC's expert committees have inspected and submitted their reports in 2009 without cognisance to any criteria. The relevant provisions under the UGC Act, Guidelines and Regulations have not been taken into cognisance for inspection and formulation of the reports..it is technically and legally untenable for the ministry to take an informed decision on the basis of such flimsy reports”.
In 2009, then HRD minister Kapil Sibal set up Tandon Committee which recommended blacklisiting of 44 deemed varsities. The committee had stated in its report that these universities were completely unfit for the recognition that endows an institution not only with authority to grant degrees but also an approval of quality, which in turn can draw students by large number.
Three of those voluntarily surrendered their deemed-to-be status or opted to become institutes of national importance. Many of them challenged the report's capability in the apex court.
UGC came up with its own report and recommended that only 7 of the 41 blacklisted varsities should be deprived of the deemed- to-be university status.
Justice Dipak Misra had asked HRD ministry on the credibility of the two conflicting reports. The response from HRD ministry has rejected the UGC committee report, and claimed that the report in respect of all 41 varsities, including eight others where the regulator had granted time for corrections, contained no specific advise or recommendation based on which the central government could form an “informed opinion” and take a statutory decision.
The ministry told the court that it is in favour of framing statutory rules for criteria for the inspection of universities seeking deemed-to-be status. It said that the government would need three months of time to do so.
HRD ministry said that until the statutory rules are framed, no review of the deemed-to-be universities could be done and the UGC reports are to be ignored. “It is only after statutorily laid down specific criteria coming into existence that UGC should undertake the exercise of rendering its specific and categorical advise to the central government so that the government can form an informed opinion and can arrive at its own decision,” it added.
The court will take up HRD ministry's reply on April 23.