States have no control over deemed varsities: court

NEW DELHI, FEB. 26. The Supreme Court today held that State Governments have no control over deemed universities in the State, which are recognised by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

A Bench comprising Justice S. Rajendra Babu and Justice G.P. Mathur dismissed an appeal by the Karnataka Government challenging the High Court's 1993 judgment on a petition from the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE). The Court had held that the Karnataka Capitation Fee Act was not applicable to deemed universities under the UGC Act.

Refusing to interfere in the matter, the Supreme Court Bench, hearing a batch of petitions from MAHE and others said the High Court judgment was in conformity with the apex court's 1999 verdict in the Dr. Preeti Srivastava case. If the Centre had made a law to coordinate standards of education, the State had no legislative competence in such matters, the 1999 verdict had said. The MAHE, which is running medical and engineering colleges in Karnataka, argued that the State Government was allocating students who had passed the common entrance test to the Academy under the Capitation Fee Act and this was contrary to the law.

Against the State Government's order, the MAHE moved the Karnataka High Court, which accepted its contention that the UGC Act governed the deemed university and State laws were not applicable to it. The State Government filed an appeal against the MAHE's deemed university status given by the UGC. This has been dismissed by the apex court.

From Tamil Nadu, the Shanmuga Arts, Science, Technology and Research Academy (SASTRA), near Thanjavur, had filed an intervention application in this matter and the case went in favour of all the deemed universities.

The same Bench on Wednesday dismissed an appeal from the Maharashtra Government seeking to implement its order that the deemed universities should allot 50 per cent of the seats for admission through the common entrance test conducted by the State.