Is there any need for deemed universities? This question came from a Supreme Court Bench after Solicitor-General (SG) Gopal Subramaniam said on Tuesday the Prof. Tandon Committee and the panel set up by the University Grants Commission to review the status of deemed universities were yet to submit reports.

When the SG sought time for filing the reports, Justice Dalveer Bhandari asked: “Where is the great need for deemed universities.”

The judge wanted to know whether the committees addressed the basic question on the need for conferring deemed university status on an institution. Justice Bhandari asked the SG to find out whether the concept of deemed university was prevalent outside India.

The committees should be asked to look into these aspects, if not already considered.

Mr. Subramaniam said all aspects were being considered by the Tandon Committee, and the UGC panel had completed 90 per cent of the work on review of the deemed universities.

He said the Tandon Committee, which had been asked to ensure that standards of higher education and research were maintained by such institutions so as to justify their continuance as deemed universities, was also finalising its report. He sought time for submitting the reports to the court once they were presented to the government.

Justice Bhandari made it clear to the SG that the Centre should come out with its decision on the reports.

Sanjay Hegde, counsel for the petitioner, wanted the court to direct the committees to take a comprehensive look on the issue of deemed university status.

Advocate Viplav Sharma had filed the public interest litigation petition in 2006 seeking regulation of deemed universities.

The Bench, which included Mukundakam Sharma, directed that the matter be listed for November 15.

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