The Madras High Court has allowed existing self-financing engineering colleges to continue functioning as per existing norms during the present academic year.

In his order on writ petitions, Justice K.N. Basha said the court was of the considered view that no prejudice would be caused to the AICTE. He made it clear that for academic year 2010-11 there would be an order of status quo as on date in respect of the functioning of petitioner institutions in all the writ petitions.

In a petition, the Consortium of Self-Financing Professional Arts and Science Colleges in Tamil Nadu, represented by its secretary, P. Selvaraj, sought to quash the records of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in respect of the revised approval process contained in a handbook published in January and the consequential order of the AICTE's southern regional office so far as it related to existing technical institutions.

The petitioner sought a consequent direction to the respondents to consider extension of approval for the existing technical institutions in terms of regulations now in force and consider the petitioner's applications already submitted without insisting on the new procedure as stipulated in the AICTE handbook.

The petitioners contended that the revised procedure did not appear to be an amendment to regulations or a fresh set of regulations framed by the AICTE under the AICTE Act.

The procedure had not been published in the gazette to make it effective. That apart, the provisions contained in the handbook dealt with approval process for grant of extension for existing technical institutions and sought to impose new and onerous conditions, which were impossible to comply with within the timeframe stipulated. It was also questionable as to whether the new conditions could be imposed for existing approved institutions.

The authorities wanted all existing institutions to upload information on the prescribed web portal within the time frame, following the new revised procedure as a condition precedent for processing the applications for approval. Such information could not be furnished in the manner indicated within the short timeframe given.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National