The Attorney-General of India, G. E. Vahanavati, has opined that the Delhi Assembly was competent to enact the Delhi Technical University Act that upgraded the erstwhile Delhi College of Engineering – a constituent college of the Delhi University – to Delhi Technical University, a State University.
Delhi Technical University was established last year by upgrading the prestigious Delhi College of Engineering through a law passed by the Delhi Assembly.
However, earlier this year there was strong opposition by Delhi University and students of the Delhi College of Engineering who claimed that it would result in a dilution of the brand name and their placement prospects would be affected among other things.
While the students, who took to the streets, eventually called off the strike after some time, a writ petition was filed in the Delhi High Court challenging the Constitutional validity of the Act by DU Executive Council member Rajib Ray. The Delhi Government, Delhi Technical University and the Union Human Resource Development Ministry were all made respondents in the case and notices issued to them by the Court.
It was in this connection that the HRD Ministry had sought the opinion of the Attorney-General who is believed to have stated that there was “no repugnancy” in the DTU Act with the University of Delhi Act, and that the legislature of the NCT of Delhi was competent under the Constitution to enact the DTU Act, sources in the Union Law Ministry told The Hindu on Friday.
Meanwhile, the A-G's advice on the matter has been forwarded to Delhi University. Confirming that the advice had been received on Thursday, Vice-Chancellor Deepak Pental said it was being “studied”.
State legislatures are empowered under the State List of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution to establish universities. However, universities are also in the Concurrent List and Delhi University finds a special mention along with Aligarh Muslim University and Banaras Hindu University in the Central List, making it a subject exclusively in the domain of Parliament. But the Delhi College of Engineering is mentioned in the statutes under the University of Delhi Act as a constituent college. However, unlike constituent colleges generally, DCE was being maintained by the Delhi Government with only the degree conferred by Delhi University, hence the Delhi Government's decision to convert it into a State University.