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Redress of grievance still out of reach of university students

Amutha Kannan
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The UGC is for appointing an Ombudsman and also constituting a GRC

As there are guidelines for ensuring entitlement of students studying in higher educational institutions, there are also those that enumerate the redress mechanisms that they can avail themselves of in case of being deprived of such rights.

In spite of a directive from the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), and guidelines from the various regulatory bodies such as the University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), and National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) the mechanisms have not been put in place in universities.

The UGC has published the UGC (Grievance Redressal) Regulations 2012 in The Gazette of India dated March 23 — 29, 2013, focusing the need for appointing an Ombudsman and also constituting a GRC. A letter dated April 23, 2013, from Akhilesh Gupta, UGC Secretary, to all Vice-Chancellors, also mentions that “It was a long felt need to prepare a Charter of Students’ Entitlement along with other student-related services and simplified procedures for redressal of grievances”.

If the guidelines on student entitlement are not followed, students can approach the GRC or the Ombudsman. But academics say that none of this is in place. Since ragging became a big issue a few years ago, the Ragging Committees were set up in colleges and universities. Other than this, there is no functioning committee or person to look into the general grievances of students, as recommended by the MHRD or other regulatory bodies, they add.

The institution is bound to comply with the order of the Ombudsman or the GRC as the case may be, failing which it will be reported to the regulatory body concerned — UGC or AICTE — as applicable. Action will be taken by the regulatory bodies after giving the institution an opportunity to explain its position and being heard.

Consequences of non-compliance by the institution include recommending to the affiliating university for withdrawal of affiliation in case of a college, recommending to the State Government for withdrawal of status of university if established under a State Act, etc.

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