The Delhi High Court in its order has asked the University Grant Commission (UGC) to take appropriate necessary actions against the Universities and colleges offering unspecified degrees and such universities are liable for penalty under Section 24 of the UGC Act, 1956.
The Court said the purpose of providing specifications of degrees approved by the UGC from time to time, which are published on the website by the UGC, is to ensure for all universities and colleges and the students enrolling in such colleges/universities that degrees of students studying unspecified degree courses would render such unspecified degrees unrecognised by the UGC. It is done to maintain uniformity in the standards of education.
However, UGC is directed to take appropriate necessary actions to ensure compliance of the provisions of the UGC Act, 1956, said the Bench of Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula in an order on a Public Interest Litigation highlighting the inaction of the University Grants Commission with respect to Universities/Institutions/ Colleges providing unspecified courses.
Petitioner Rahul Mahajan through plea sought direction to UGC to ensure compliance by all universities and deemed-to-be universities and colleges and institutes, with a notification dated July 5, 2014, issued by the UGC and connected notifications to ensure uniformity in degree nomenclature.
The plea also sought direction from UGC to ensure the wide publication of a consolidated list of specified degrees at least twice a year, prior to the commencement of each academic session.
Advocate Vikram Singh Kushwaha appealed for the petitioner and contended that due to the lapses and inconsistencies in the laws, rules and regulations of the UGC and the lack of accountability of the respondents, students are conferred with degrees that are not recognised by the UGC. This creates a situation wherein students are led to waste their time, money and effort for a future that does not exist.
Counsel for the petitioner contended that students who are conferred with degrees that are not specified in the Notification are being denied their fundamental right enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
UGC in its affidavit stated that it had earlier requested the Vice Chancellors of all the universities to adhere to the nomenclature of degrees specified by the provision of the notification dated 05.07.2014. It was also clarified by the UGC in the above-stated letter to all the universities. that UGC regulations/ notifications are statutorily and mandatorily to be followed by all the Universities and they have the force of law.
Delhi HC while passing judgment noted that UGC has issued various letters to all the universities to ensure that they comply with provision of the UGC Act with regard to the specification of degrees. It may, therefore, be seen that UGC is taking all necessary measures to ensure strict compliance with the UGC Act, 1956 with regard to the specification of degree.
In view of the above, no order is required to be passed in the present writ petition. However, UGC is directed to take appropriate necessary actions to ensure compliance with the provisions of the UGC Act, 1956, said the Delhi High Court.
(with inputs from ANI)