SC extends time till Sept. 30, asks UGC to complete assessment of C Category Deemed Universities

The Supreme Court on Friday granted time till September 30 to the University Grants Commission to complete the assessment of 41 Deemed Universities, which were placed in C Category by Tandon Committee.

While passing Interim Order on 21st January 2014, the Supreme Court had granted 2 months’ time to UGC to complete the assessment and submit the Report.

Later, UGC preferred an application before the Court and expressed its desire to visit the University Campus for the purpose of assessment and the request was accordingly allowed by Supreme Court in its order dated 5th May 2014. In such case, the time limit was further allowed till 31st July 2014.

UGC while discussing this issue on 13th June 2014 decided to constitute a Committee to undertake assessment of the 41 Category ‘C’ Institutions Deemed to be Universities. All the 41 C Category Deemed to be Universities were to appear before the Committee to make a video presentation of their institution and to respond to any queries. The Commission was to assess the presentation of each Deemed to be University and arrive at reasoned conclusion.

Later in its meeting on 22nd July 2014, it transpired that though the Sub-Committee had completed the hearing of all the 41 Institutions Deemed to be Universities; however, it was in the process of preparing its recommendations which was likely to take some more time. It was accordingly decided that a request may be made before the Hon’ble Supreme Court for further extension of two months time beyond 31st July, 2014 for submission of advice by the UGC to the Government of India.

A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Vikramajit Sen heard the application of UGC seeking extension of time and passed following orders:

This is an application for extension of time to comply with the order. Having heard learned counsel for the parties, time stands extended till September 30, 2014. Needless to say no further extension shall be granted.”

The Hon’ble Supreme Court has been clear in its observation that this is the last extension, which is being granted.

UGC Clarifies on 1 Year LL.M. Duration amends Regulations to allow 1 Year LL.M. Course

University Grants Commission vide Gazette Notification dated 5 July 2014, by virtue of powers conferred u/s 22(3) of the UGC Act, 1956, has laid down under Column 30 of the Specification List, that LL.M., shall be of 2 year Duration.

This was almost undoing the earlier UGC Guidelines issued in 2013 allowing Universities to start 1 year LL.M. Course.

On the heels of this confusion, which was created by the recent Notification mentioning LL.M. to be of 2 year, UGC has amended UGC (Minimum Standards of Instructions for Grant of Master’s Degree through Formal Education) Regulations, 2013, to say as under:

“Provided that a master’s degree, where entry qualification is two bachelor’s degree in succession, including one in the relevant discipline or integrated degree of five years in the relevant discipline after plus two, the duration may be one year.”

This clarifies the position that one Year LL.M. Degree programme shall be allowed to run. But is this clarification is absolute?

The answer is NO, interested Universities, which desire to continue with the existing 1 year LL.M. Degree Program or introduce one, will have to comply with requirements laid down in UGC Guidelines of Centre Post Graduate Legal Studies, 2013 in terms of faculty, infrastructure, library, teleconferencing facilities, etc.

“confusion” and “then a clarification”, a “innovative” way of dissemination of information. Let us live with it, till UGC actually becomes autonomous in terms of its legislative preamble and mandate.

Will 5 Year Law Course, now be of 6 Years, 1 Year LL.M. Course be of 2 Years and BA.LL.B / BBA LL.B be renamed as LL.B. ?

Presently in India, we have different variables of law related academic awards:

A) We have 5 year Law Course, generally of Dual / Integrated Degree with option of Interim Exit / Lateral Entry; Like State Universities

B) We have 5 year Law Course, generally of Dual Degree / Integrated without option of Interim Exit / Lateral Entry; Like National Law Schools

C) We have 2 year LL.M Course in some colleges or 1 year LL.M. Course in some colleges.

D) In most of the cases, the 5 year Course has dual degree – B.S.L, LL.B., BBA LL.B, BA. LL.B. In fact some Institutes, we have B.Tech LL.B. Like UPES, Dehradun.

University Grants Commission vide Gazette Notification dated 5th July 2014, by virtue of powers conferred u/s 22(3) of the UGC Act, 1956, has laid down following guidelines for Integrated Course

A) If the Integrated/Dual Degree Programmes intend to offer two separate degrees with an option for an interim exit or lateral entry, the duration of the Integrated/Dual Degree Programme must not be less than the duration equal to the sum total of the prescribed duration of the two degrees that are being combined in the Integrated/Dual Degree Programme.

B) If the Integrated Programme intends to offer a single degree without permission to exit and lateral entry, the program duration may be relaxed by not more than 20 % of the sum total of the prescribed duration of the two degrees that are being combined to make the single integrated degree.

C) Additionally, under Column 30 of the Specification List, UGC makes it clear that LL.M., shall be of 2 year Duration.

These new UGC “Guiding Principles” on Nomenclature and Duration of Degree obviously arising out of UGC – Delhi University, faceoff, raises many questions. What will now happen to 5-year integrated LLB degree course, or to recently introduced 1 Year LL.M. Course?

UGC though has reason to introduce the change, as it is mentioned in the “Guiding Principles” that, “The academic philosophy/rationale behind offering such integrated Programmes should not be for economizing on course requirements or award of double degrees in a fast track. On the contrary, an integrated approach should involve a vertical or interdisciplinary discourse.”

So, now what will happen to 5 Year LL.B. Course?Those Universities, which have 5 Year Law Programme, with option to interim exit or lateral entry, which generally all the State Universities have, will have to change the Programme duration to 6 years, if they want to pursue giving Dual Degree.

However, the most interesting would be action to be taken by those Universities, which though do not allow interim exit or lateral entry, but award Degrees Like BA. LL.B, BBA.LL.B, B.Tech.LL.B.These Universities will have real tough time. Either they have to change their duration to 6 year Course or reduce the Nomenclature of Degree to a Single Degree of LL.B. Either of these two is going to be disadvantageous. The elongated duration will kill the advantage of the Integrated Programme, which it has over 3 year LL.B, post-Graduation. The reduction in nomenclature will dishearten the students, as they look for some corporate like academic award like “BBA” to place themselves in Companies and MNCs.

Now coming to the 2 year LL.M. Course, this was introduced in 2013 to bring this program to global equivalence. Apart from National Law Schools many State University adopted 1 year LL.M. Course and it was really a “like” of students. Now the new Rule states that it should be of minimum 2 year duration.

The dynamics of law has now stepped to the doors of the law programmes as well. Many Institutes / Universities have not adopted these Guidelines. Is UGC really serious about this or other way round, was it meant to be implemented? Above all, is it proper to do away with certain academic awards, which have been there for 2 decades or being introduced lately to bring equivalence with Global Standards?

Let us discuss this.