TAMIL NADU

Varsities should be open for inspection, Centre tells court



Special Correspondent

Says it is for assessing technical, management education standards

Submits that AICTE must prescribe technical education standards Proper notice for inspection must be given AICTE or other relevant statutory councils are free to inspect university Inspection team should include UGC repr esentatives and university faculty

CHENNAI: The Centre has told the Madras High Court that universities and deemed universities should be open for inspection visits of expert teams constituted by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to assess the standards of technical and management education.

A counter-affidavit from the Union Ministry for Human Resource Development, filed in response to the writ petitions filed by some deemed universities questioning the AICTE's administrative and regulatory jurisdiction over them, said: "The AICTE must prescribe the standards of education in technical education as per the provisions of the AICTE Act, and also to observe that the institutions of higher education, including universities and deemed-to-be universities, at least maintain the prescribed standards."

UGC likely to direction

However, it said, the AICTE must give proper notice for inspection and also include representatives of the University Grants Commission and faculty members of the university or the deemed university concerned in the expert team.

"Further, the team should not have any member having any conflict of interest with the institution to be inspected."

Thereafter the UGC may issue necessary direction or recommendations to the universities or deemed universities in exercise of the powers vested with it under Section 12(d) of the UGC Act 1956, the counter maintained.

Failure by these institutions to comply with the directions must attract appropriate action by the UGC or the HRD Ministry, it added.

In short, the counter said that the AICTE "may tender its advice to the UGC for declaration of an institution as university or deemed university.

Counter

It is for the UGC to consider the advice of the AICTE along with other inputs while making a recommendation to the Centre under Section 3 of the UGC Act."

The counter said that as per the Supreme Court order universities or deemed universities could start new departments or courses for technical education without prior approval of the AICTE.

Seeking to draw a distinction between a technical institution and an institution declared as deemed to be university, the counter said "deemed university status is granted on the recommendation of the UGC, which consults the AICTE or other relevant statutory councils, to ascertain that the institution is maintaining standards of education prescribed by the Council concerned."

It was of the view that after the grant of the status, the institutions were responsible for maintaining the standards.

"The AICTE or other relevant statutory councils are free to inspect the university, including the deemed universities, in order to ensure that the prescribed standards are maintained."

"But, they cannot take any action on their own, except bringing it to the notice of the UGC or other authorities."

The batch of petitions, filed by the deemed universities questioning the AICTE's jurisdiction over them is expected to be taken up for final hearing on Thursday.