A Division Bench of the Madras High Court has upheld a single Judge's order directing that the August 2007 proposal of a Deemed-to-be-University for setting up an off-campus centre at Tiruchi be considered by applying the UGC guidelines that were in existence prior to its 2010 regulations.

The single Judge had allowed a writ petition by the SRM University (Deemed to be University), Kattankulathur, near here, and given the direction in the light of the UGC's recommendation of September 2009. Aggrieved, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development filed an appeal.

The Ministry submitted that the single Judge was wrong in directing the university's application be considered under the old guidelines after the same had been superseded by the 2010 regulations.

The university submitted that grave prejudice was caused to it on account of the direction given by the Ministry to apply afresh under the 2010 regulations and the power under the regulation itself was prospective and could not prejudice anyone.

Dismissing the appeal, the First Bench comprising Chief Justice M.Y.Eqbal and Justice T.S.Sivagnanam said that as noticed by the single Judge, Section 26 (3) of the UGC Act conferred power to make regulation which would include the power to give retrospective effect, but no retrospective effect should be given to any regulation so as to prejudicially affect the interest of any person to whom the regulation may be applicable.

On a conjoint reading of Sections 25 (3) (Power to make rules) and 26 (3) and Regulations 1.2 and 23 (Consideration of old proposals) of the UGC 2010 Regulations, it could be safely concluded that the 2010 Regulations would have prospective application and could not be stated to be retroactive.

This was because the power to make regulations did not empower to give retrospective effect to the regulation so as to prejudicially affect the interest of any person to whom the regulation applied. Further, it was alternatively contended that the concept of prejudice would override even if the application was pending or in process.

The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development filed an appeal