The State Government's higher education policy came under attack in the Rajasthan Assembly on Monday when the Opposition and ruling party members joined hands in airing their fears over the quality of education being imparted by private universities. The Opposition was also critical of the judiciary for its alleged interference in matters pertaining to legislation during discussions on an amendment to the National Law University, Jodhpur, Act, 1999.
There was widespread scepticism over the intent of setting up universities by the rich and business houses as well as the quality of higher education being provided by such institutions as member after member expressed concern over their poor infrastructure and lack of qualified teaching personnel. The provocation for the reactions was two bills—the Rajasthan Private Universities' Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2012, and the VIT University, Jaipur, Bill, 2012—introduced and passed in the House on Monday.
The Bill on the NLU, Jodhpur, Act was to facilitate the nomination of any Judge of the Supreme Court by the Chief Justice as a visitor to the Jodhpur Law University. Under Section 7(1) of the present Act, the Chief Justice of India is to be the Visitor. The amendment was as “desired by the Chief Justice of India” after the multifaceted duties and functions made it difficult for him to be a Visitor to the university.
When Deputy Leader of the Opposition Ghanshyam Tiwari lamented lack of coordination between the Bar Council of India and the Central Law Commission in deciding on the curriculum and the span of law graduate courses, his colleague Rao Rajendra Singh wanted to know why the Chief Justice had no time to spare for a university teaching law.
BJP members Gulab Chand Kataria, Anita Badel, Phool Chand Bhinda, Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLAs Amra Ram and Pema Ram and Congress MLA Pratap Singh Kachariyawas asked the Government not to run away from its basic responsibility of providing quality higher education to the youth. The private universities missed public interest aspect and were mere shops meant to make money, Mrs. Badel charged.
Minister for Higher Education Dayaram Parmar, who piloted the Bills, said the amendment as meant to facilitate 25 existing universities here to set up off campus within and outside the State. Allaying the fears of the members that these universities would not provide reservations to various categories, Mr. Parmar said the private universities were bound by law to provide reservations to students.