UGC amends Deemed Universities Rules relating to Admission, Governance

University Grants Commission has notified in Official Gazette amendments made in UGC [Deemed to be Universities] Regulations, 2010 majorly relating to admission and governance.

UGC had earlier set up a Committee in 2012 to review the Regulations in light strong criticism of the Regulations that it violates the autonomy of the Private Deemed Universities. The proposed amendments were being deliberated for a long time and were finally approved in meeting of UGC dated 10th January 2014. The effected amendments have been notified in Official Gazette on 24th May 2014.

Some of the important amendments are as under:

(A) UGC has now allowed that a Deemed University can also be proposed to be established by a Charitable Company. Earlier, only a Society / Trust could submit proposal for establishing Deemed to be Universities. Similarly the proposed Deemed University can now be a Charitable Company also. Earlier, the proposed Deemed to be University was allowed to be registered only as only Society / Trust. Under the new Company Law, provisions for establishing charitable companies are provided u/s 8 of the Companies Act, 2013.

(B) It further widens the gap between the Sponsoring Society and the Deemed University and makes it clear that members of the Sponsoring Society shall not be connected with the members of the of the Trust / Society / Company of a Deemed Universities. In the previous Regulations, this gap was only restricted to the appointment of Chancellor.

(C) It has made substantive amendments in Regulation 6, relating to admission procedure of Deemed to be Universities. It restricts the DUs from charging fees, in excess of the amount, which has been fixed by the Fee Regulations of Government / Commission.

(D) In respect of selection procedure, it has allowed Deemed Universities to follow their own procedure for selection of students, as notified in the prospectus if such DUs have not been subjected to select students through an admission specified by an appropriate statutory authority. In respect of admission of NRI / PIO / Foreign Students, it has asked DUs to follow the Guidelines / Regulations framed by Commission from time to time.

(E) It has laid down the norms for publishing prospectus in detail. The amendments prescribe that the prospectus should clearly state i] each component of fees; ii] percentage of refundable amount; iii] intake capacity; iv] conditions of eligibility including qualification, minimum and maximum age limit; v] process of selection of students including details of admission test; vi] details of teaching faculty; viii] details of infrastructure including hostel, library, hospital and other resources; viii] broad outline of syllabus; ix] rules of discipline etc. UGC has also directed the DUs to publish such information as prescribed on the website.

(F) The amendments also restrict the DUs from making unreasonable profit out of sale or distribution of prospectus. The amendments also restrict the DUs from charging Capitation Fees for admission to any seat.

(G) It has made it clear that admission to a Deemed to be University shall be made only Notification issued by Central Government in exercise of power conferred u/s 3 of UGC Act, 1956. Any admission done in anticipation of Notification shall be considered as violation.

(H) In respect of status of properties owned by DUs in the event of withdrawal /dissolution of Deemed Status, there is a departure from earlier provisions. The amendments provide that in such case, the property would be transferred to the Commission for meeting the liabilities. The previous Regulations had mandated that in such case, the property would stand forfeited.

(I) In the amendment, UGC has also restricted the expansion of the DUs to limit the number of Off Campus Centre to maximum of Six Off Campuses beyond its geographical boundaries. In the previous Regulations, there was no such numerical restriction.

(J) UGC has now set the time limit for conducting courses in Distance Educationby Deemed Universities. It has now prescribed that no Deemed University can conduct courses in Distance Education after expiry of Ten Years from the commencement of these amended Regulations.

(K) In respect of appointment of Vice Chancellor, the amendment has completely done away with the procedure prescribed in the earlier Regulations. It has now prescribed that the process of selection of Vice Chancellor shall be in accordance with the UGC Minimum Qualification for Appointment of Teachers and Other Academic Staff Regulations, 2010.

These amendments have come into force from May 24, 2014 and shall apply to all the Deemed Universities.

Post these amendments, UGC in its Meeting dated 13th June 2014 proposed further amendment to the Regulations by allowing President of the Sponsoring Society to be the Chancellor of the Deemed University, provided the person is a distinguished academic and the Deemed University has a] completed 25 years of existence; b] Is in NAAC “A” Category and c] Is placed in A Category by Tandon Committee.

EduLegaL View:

The amendments in view of EduLegaL are not substantive in nature. These amendments can be said to be “clarificatory” in nature. Several provisions relating to admission and prospectus already exist in other UGC Regulations.

While UGC is amending the Regulations to correct the errors done by it earlier, it cannot also loose sight of the fact that the UGC Deemed Universities Regulations, 2010 has been declared unconstitutional and invalid by Hon’ble Karnataka High Court, while deciding bunch of Petitions filed by several Deemed Universities. Similarly there is STATUS QUO as respect the said Regulations in favour of several Deemed Universities by order of Hon’ble Madras High Court.

It should reconsider several other provisions which encroach upon the fundamental right of Deemed Universities to establish and administer educational institutions, which grant them right to constitute governing body, admit students, lay down reasonable fee structure, appoint employees, etc.

UGC to launch Online Grievance Cell for Students

UGC has decided to launch Online students grievance redressal portal’, a platform for students to raise their issues to the concerned Institute and seek speedy redressal of the same. It is part of the UGC to empower students, ensure transparency in the process and also to curb unfair practices / malpractices.

According to UGC this forum would enable UGC and the universities/colleges to understand the nature of students’ grievances, monitor and redress the same within a short time. It will also help in taking policy decisions and implement the same to mitigate such grievances.

In effective implementation of the process, UGC has directed all the Universities to appoint a person in-charge of the grievance redressal cell as nodal officer to monitor and respond to students’ grievances lodged on this forum. UGC has directed the Universities to notify such appointment to UGC within 10 days.
EduLegaL View:

This is certainly a good step more particularly because it has been done at the commencement of the academic year. We all know majority of the grievances of the students are related with admission, refund of fees, evaluation, which are mainly concentrated in the beginning of the academic year.

UGC had earlier notified UGC [Grievance Redressal] Regulations, 2012, we do not what happened to these Regulations, as effective mechanism was sought to be created under this Regulation also.

One interesting aspect, which comes to notice, is that UGC has made an attempt to make policy decision after understanding the nature of grievances. This will certainly be path breaking, if this can be achieved.

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Banks cannot fix minimum required percentage for extending Education Loan: Madras High Court

Madras High Court speaking through Division Bench of Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice M Sathyanarayanan has held that Banks cannot fix 60% of marks as minimum required percentage for extending education loan to students, who have secured admission under Management Quota.

The Petitioner concerned in the case had secured 59 % marks and had secured admission in Engineering Course under Management Quota. He approached for Bank Loan, which was denied to him on the ground that he has failed to secure minimum 60 % of marks. Being aggrieved by this rejection, the students approached the High Court, where Hon’ble Single Judge of the High Court directed the bank to extend loan to the Petitioner observing that banks cannot deny loans on the ground of minimum marks percentage to a student who has been admitted under management quota.

The Bank had thereafter filed Appeal before the Division Bench of the High Court, which upheld the judgement passed by the Hon’ble Single Judge.

The Division Bench observed that issue of requirement of minimum marks, i.e., “eligibility” has already been settled by Government of India under which students admitted in the management quota were also entitled to get education loan.

On the basis of the policy guideline laid down by the Government Chief Executives of the PSU banks in their meeting held on September 27, 2012 decided to finance the meritorious students, who pursue courses under Management quota.

The High Court thus ruled that such fixation is arbitrary and not proper and dismissed the Appeal filed by the Bank.

UGC relaxes criteria to appoint Chancellor for Certain Deemed Universities

UGC has relaxed the provisions contained in Clause 5.2 of the UGC [Institutions Deemed to be Universities] Regulations, 2010 relating to appointment of Chancellor  to allow President / Trustee/ promoter of the sponsoring Society/Trust/Company or  his/her close relative as its Chancellor.

Earlier, in the year 2010, UGC had notified UGC [Institutions Deemed to be Universities] Regulations, 2010. In the said Regulations, vide Clause 5, it had provided for Governance System of the Deemed University. Clause 5.2 of the Regulations, prescribed that Chancellor of the University apart from being an eminent educationist shall be person other than President of the Sponsoring Society or his / her close relatives, thereby separating the Sponsoring Body and Deemed University.

UGC, in its meeting held on 13th June 2014 while considering suggestion received from MHRD to amend UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2010, has relaxed the provisions contained in Clause 5.2 of the Regulations.

UGC has now resolved that Institutions Deemed to be Universities, which have been conferred that status for 25 years or more, and have a valid NAAC  Grade A accreditation and have also been given ‘A’ Grade by the Tandon Committee may be permitted relaxation to the provisions of clause 5.2 of the UGC Institutions Deemed to be University Regulations, 2010 to the extent that the sponsoring society/trust/company of such an Institution can also appoint the President/Trustee/promoter of the sponsoring Society/Trust/Company or his/her close relative as its Chancellor provided that such a person is an eminent educationist or a distinguished public figure. It has accordingly sought to amend the UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2010.

EduLegaL View:

While UGC is amending the Regulations to correct the errors done by it earlier, it cannot also loose sight of the fact that the UGC Deemed Universities Regulations, 2010 has been declared unconstitutional and invalid by Hon’ble Karnataka High Court, while deciding bunch of Petitions filed by several Deemed Universities. Similarly there is STATUS QUO as respect the said Regulations in favour of several Deemed Universities by order of Hon’ble Madras High Court.

It should reconsider several other provisions which encroach upon the fundamental right of Deemed Universities to establish and administer educational institutions, which grant them right to constitute governing body, admit students, lay down reasonable fee structure, appoint employees, etc.

On instruction of MHRD, it has again tried to re-enforce the TANDON COMMITTEE, which has been virtually put to naught by Hon’ble Apex Court

However, it is certainly a good start.

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