UGC again amends the quashed / sub-judice Deemed University Regulations

University Grants Commission has again amended substantive provisions of UGC [Deemed to be Universities] Regulations, 2010 relating to appointment of Vice Chancellor and Off Campus Centre being run by Centrally funded Deemed Universities.

UGC [Deemed to be Universities] Regulations, 2010 were notified on 21.05.2010 on the basis of recommendations of Tandon Committee / Task Force constituted by MHRD. On notified, several Deemed Universities had challenged the constitutional validity of the Regulations in several High Courts.

Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka vide detailed Judgement dated 22.05.2014 had quashed the Regulations being unconstitutional. Madras High Court had upheld the validity, however, when the same was challenged, the judgement was stayed. Similarly litigations are pending in Punjab and Haryana High Court, Uttarakhand High Court, Bombay High Court [Aurangabad Bench]. Later, MHRD has filed Transfer Petition before the Hon’ble Supreme Court seeking to transfer all the matters relating to the Regulations to Supreme Court, which is also pending.

In the recent amendment, UGC has enlarged the scope of Regulation 12, which relates to Off Campus Centres of Deemed Universities established and managed by Government. Originally as the Regulations stood, there was no restriction placed on the number of Off-Campus, being run by a Deemed University. Later by amendment in 2014, UGC had restricted the expansion of the DUs to limit the number of Off Campus Centre to maximum of Six Off Campuses beyond its geographical boundaries. However, by the amendment notified in 2016, UGC has removed the numerical restriction for Deemed Universities established and managed by Government.

Second amendment relates to appointment of Vice Chancellor, by which UGC has wisely undone the previous amendment and restored the original position. By the amendment in the year 2014, UGC had completely done away with the procedure prescribed in the earlier Regulations and 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. However, it has now taken a u-turn and restored the original position to specify that Chancellor shall make the appointment of Vice Chancellor from the 3 names recommended by the Selection Committee.

It further proceeds to prescribe different composition of Selection Committee for Institutions being completely funded by Central / State Government, being funded more than or equal to 50 % or being funded less than 50 % by providing nominees of MHRD / UGC, as the case may be.

EduLegaL View

It is a known fact that the removal of restriction as regards Off Campus Centre for Government Universities was mainly to accommodate several Government Deemed Universities, which were running illegal / unauthorized campuses.

Under our Constitution, discrimination is permitted, but then the grounds for discrimination has to be “reasonable”. I do not see any reasonability in discriminating against the private Deemed Universities and not allowing them to expand as much as Government Deemed Universities. The occasion and cause for amendment is also suspicious obviously to legalise the illegality by Government machinery.

UGC 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.

 The Argument can continue !

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

Making Energy Audit mandatory for Educational Institutions

Energy Audit

 

Our country has been experiencing remarkable growth, both industrial and intellectual in last decade.  We all agree to a fact that any growth should be sustainable and inclusive in nature. Obviously, when we talk of growth, the stimulus for growth also becomes an integral part of the discussion. “Energy” or “Power” undoubtedly is one of the most important stimulus for growth and rank par is “Education”, which is indication of Human Resource Index of the Country.

Having said that “sustainability” can ensure that growth story is more enjoyable in terms of impact and longevity. I feel that considering the depleting character of natural resources, sustenance in terms of “Energy” becomes very critical. More particularly in education sector, as usage and consumption of energy in educational institutions is quite high and more often than not, in an unorganized manner. My idea is not paint the educational institutions in bad colour but to project the true picture.

In present scenario the energy conservation plays an important role. It is because consumption of energy is increasing day by day and the generation is not matching with it. The energy conservation helps in reducing the energy consumption and provide the savings. By adopting proper measures energy awareness to make the people aware the importance of energy the required result can be achieved.

Since, the advent of accounting practices, we have been used to the term “Audit”, which is generally used to study the manner and pattern of expenditure and also to point out the gray areas and suggest reformative measures.

It happened so that I was researching for legal audit, which I was about to conduct for an educational institution and I came across this noble concept of “Energy Audit of Educational Institutions”. After reading through some articles on Internet / Journals, I found that “Energy Audit” is a wide spectrum of energy study, which ranges from identifying major energy problem areas to implications of alternative energy efficient measures. It involves analyzing the actual consumption of electrical energy and measures of energy conservation. Energy Audit helps to understand more about the ways energy and fuel are used in any industry and help in identifying the areas where waste can occur and where scope for improvement exists.

India with the second largest population in the world is now one of the fastest growing economies with a rapid growth in GDP. In the past few decades the need for trained people is rapidly increasing in the industrial and other fields to support our countries technological growth. This has lead to the establishment of more and more technological and educational institutions in India. India has a large number of Universities, colleges, and other institutions and the number is growing rapidly in the past few decades.

It is well known that educational institutions consume resources like water, electricity; forest product’s and generates wastes like many industries. Establishment and operating of Universities are not covered by any of the environmental laws in India. As a result, the importance of making the Universities operate with self consciousness in the utility of resources inside the campus is least understood.

The educational institutes have a responsibility to become a role model for the nation to save energy and promote optimization. They should also develop and promote indigenous technology. They support a large number of faculties and training facilities which can be a good platform to raise the awareness and promote energy saving. The government run educational institutes should be more responsible towards energy saving and its proper management as they are the hub of all researches and innovations.

An energy study review of various international and national educational institutions indicates that 5-20% of energy can be saved. Some of the Reports that I have perused, of Aligarh Muslim University, National Institute of Technology, National Institute of Technical Teachers Training, Chandigarh and National Institute of Technology, Kurushetra, really highlight of importance of Energy Audit in educational institutions. 

Business-Energy-Audit

These Reports have suggested several measures like increasing substation to reduce line losses, the conventional regulators to be replaced by power electronic regulators, Biogas can also be used for heating purpose in hostels and residences, Better ventilation in buildings will lead to greater cooling, Using of electric sensor doors and many more. These Reports really make an interesting reading and it is these Reports and literature available there, which has formed the content of this write up.

In India, it is not mandatory to perform energy auditing in educational institution as it is not in the list of designated (power) consumer. However, considering the importance of energy and its consumption in an educational institution, I wish to suggest that Energy Audit of Educational Institutions should be made mandatory.

To start, Audit can be made mandatory in all the Universities including Central University, State University and Deemed University, because the Universities have large cluster of students in particular students on residential campus, as Hostel Buildings are the main cause of energy wastage. Thereafter we can proceed to Residential Schools and Colleges.

 

Infact, “Energy Management and Conservation Practices”, should be made an important parameter while granting recognition to an Institution. I also suggest that “Energy Management and Conservation Practices”, should also be one of the parameters for the purpose assessing an educational institution for accreditation or ranking under National Assessment and Accreditation Council, National Board of Accreditation and National Institutional Ranking Framework.

 

Save Energy ! Save Life ! Green India !

Ravi Bhardwaj | Founder and Principal Consultant | EduLegaL

mail@edulegal.in

UGC snubs MHRD by re-imposing ban on technical distance education degrees

UGC2

UGC has undone a great policy initiative taken by MHRD to recognize technical education obtained distance education by re-imposing the ban on such degrees and has cautioned by way of Public Notice that no institution is permitted to offer Diploma, Bachelor or Masters level programme under ODL mode in Engineering and Technology.

In a big departure from its earlier stand, the Centre has notified in July 25, 2015 Notification that degrees, diplomas and certificates granted by universities through open and distance-learning mode of education for programmes including technical education would now be considered valid for Government Employment.

MHRD

The path breaking approach of MHRD was consistent with recommendation of Madhav Menon Committee, which had advocated that recognition of technical education qualification from distance education mode is consistent with National Policy of Education and should be allowed by using Study Learning Material for theory component, face-to-face / e-learning for interaction and compulsory practical component for development of requisite skill. Regular face-to-face counselling sessions during weekends should be used for clarification and removal of doubts. Laboratory experiments could be conducted in AICTE recognized colleges taking into account the physical infrastructure and human resource required for the purpose.

DEB

Now the present notice issued by UGC, which has come as a big shock, ignores not only the recommendation of the Madhav Menon Committee but also the Notification issued by MHRD and is actually repetitive of the earlier approach of UGC and AICTE, which has always followed a policy of not approving B.Tech, M.Tech, courses in distance mode, but have only recognising MBA / MCA Qualifications from Distance Education Mode.

UGC has turned the tide termed offering such courses by Institutions to be “misleading” and in “gross violation” of the policy regarding offering programmes in Open and Distance Learning Mode. It also clarified that it has not recognized any Institution to offer distance Programme in technical education and such qualification, acquired by a student shall not be eligible for employment in Government Services or for pursuing higher studies.

The proposed Distance Education Council Bill, 2014 also makes provisions for technical education within the scope of Distance Education and the proposed Council has representations from AICTE and other technical / professional regulators.

EduLegaL View

Higher Education in our country has experienced substantial growth however has failed to scale upto the required strengths more so because it is highly dependent on conventional education, which is highly capital-intensive.

The need of the hour is to develop an alternative mode of education to supplement the conventional education system, through policy initiatives to facilitate the expansion of higher education sector for the fulfillment of aspirations of those who are deprived of pursuing it for whatever reason and recognising the qualifications earned through distance education for employability is certainly one of such policy initiatives.

UGC’s Notice is a step backwards and works against the aspirations.

But the larger picture is, WHAT IS A CONFUSION BETWEEN TWO APEX AGENCIES, MHRD and UGC ?

Supreme Court disallows revealing the name of examiner of answer sheets, says will create confusion, and unrest

supremecourt

The Apex while over-ruling a judgement of Kerala High Court has held that names of examiners of answer sheet cannot be disclosed under Right to Information Act, 2005.

Supreme Court was examining the issue,  whether  a student / candidate is entitled not only to get information with regard to the scan copies of his answer sheet, tabulation-sheet containing interview marks but is also entitled to know the names of the examiners who have evaluated the answer sheet.

Before dealing elaborately into the aspect of disclosure of name of examiner, the Court upheld that supply of scanned copies of answer-sheet of the written test, copy of the tabulation sheet and other information are rights of a candidate and should be provided by the public authority, as this will ensure a fair play in this competitive environment, where candidate puts his time in preparing for the competitive exams

However, Supreme Court did not concur with the findings of the High Court that an examining body is also bound to disclose the name of the examiner. The Supreme Court felt that disclosure of the identity of Examiners is in the least interest of the general public and also any attempt to reveal the examiner’s identity will give rise to dire consequences and will lead confusion and public unrest.

The Supreme Court, while concluding the judgement, observed as follows:

“The Commission has reposed trust on the examiners that they will check the exam papers with utmost care, honesty and impartially and, similarly, the Examiners have faith that 7 they will not be facing any unfortunate consequences for doing their job properly. If we allow disclosing name of the examiners in every exam, the unsuccessful candidates may try to take revenge from the examiners for doing their job properly. This may, further, create a situation where the potential candidates in the next similar exam, especially in the same state or in the same level will try to contact the disclosed examiners for any potential gain by illegal means in the potential exam.”

Supreme relied on principle of fiduciary relationship and held that relationship between the between the examining body and the examiner is fiduciary in nature which required to be protected and therefore any information shared between them is not liable to be disclosed.

EduLegaL View:

I agree with the Judgement of Supreme Court and at the same time I also feel that the fundamental right to transparency should not aim to make everything so transparent that it endangers the fundamental right of some other person. Every fundamental right has reasonable restriction and cannot be absolute.

It is of utmost importance that name of examiner is not disclosed, so that he exercises his competency in fearless atmosphere. In any case, the fact that an answer sheet is available to a student, he can always seek correction in his answer on sound principles without knowing the name of the examiner.

Good ! Great !

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

AICTE lays down Study Leave Guidelines for Teachers

AICTE has laid down comprehensive guidelines for availing Study Leave for the Teachers and other Academic Staff in Institutions approved by AICTE, who have joined the teaching services without without M. Tech./ Ph. D or other higher qualification.

The Guidelines prescribe that Study leave may be granted to pursue for study (M.E./M. Tech./ Ph. D) or research in the relevant discipline after a minimum of three years in regular service including the probation period. Study Leave keeping in mind the availability of teachers in the discipline and the vacant positions so that the regular academic work is not disturbed while granting study leave. Study leave shall be granted by the Institution on the recommendation of the concerned Head of the Department.

The paid period of study leave should be two/three years for Master/ Doctorial level respectively. Two years may be given in the first instance, extendable by one more year for Ph. D program. Any extension beyond the stipulated period shall be treated as leave without Pay.

However, such benefit can be availed only once during the entire service and will not be available to a teacher who is due to retire within five years of the date on which he/she is expected to return to duty. Study leave granted to a teacher shall be deemed to be cancelled in case it is not availed of within 12 months of its sanction. Provided that where study leave granted has been so cancelled, the teacher may apply again for such leave.

A teacher availing Study Leave shall continue to receive scholarship, fellowship or other financial assistance, in addition to the Salary being received by him at his home Institution. However, in the case of an Indian fellowship, which exceeds the salary of the teacher, the salary would be forfeited.

Study leave may be combined with earned leave, half-Pay leave, extraordinary leave or vacation, provided that the earned leave at the credit of the teacher shall be availed at the discretion of the teacher.

Another salient feature of the Scheme is that a teacher, who is selected to a higher post during study leave, will be placed in that position and get the higher scale only after joining the post and shall on his/her return and re-joining the service of the Institute be eligible to the benefit(s) of the annual increment(s) which he/she would have earned in the course of time if he/she had not proceeded on study leave. No teacher shall however, be eligible to receive arrears of increments.

Study leave shall count as service for pension/contributory provident fund purposes, provided the teacher joins back in the Institute on the expiry of his/her study leave.

After the leave has been sanctioned, the teacher shall execute a bond that he/she shall serve the Institute for a continuous period of at least three years to be calculated from the date of his/her resuming duty on expiry of the study leave. If the Faculty, fails to observe the conditions, amount paid to him might become refundable to the Institute

The teacher shall submit to the Head of the Institution, the progress report at a frequent interval of 6 months in his/her studies through his/her supervisor. This report shall reach the Head of the Institution of within one month of the expiry of every six months term of the study leave. If the report does not reach within the specified time, the payment of leave salary may be deferred till the receipt of such report.

EduLegaL View

The purpose of study leave is to enable a Faculty to pursue a course or to undertake research, which would improve his potential to serve the Institution and the Students. In that light, this is really a welcome move and will help streamline that process.

But there are few practical issues, How many of the Institutions, do actually follow this and How many of the teachers, do actually return to the Institutions, which granted the Study Leave. The answer is “very few”, which demoralizes such liberal policies.

Let us see, how this New Policy, takes effect !

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

AICTE notifies series of reforms, recognises shortage of qualified faculty, allows relaxing PH.D. Criteria, recognises inter-disciplinary learning, and much more …

AICTE had in the year 2010 notified Regulations relating to Pay Scales, Service Conditions and Qualifications for the Teachers in Technical Institutions. In the year 2012, it had also passed Regulations for Career Advancement Scheme for the Teachers and other Academic Staff in Technical Institutions.

However, several issues were raised out of the implementation of these Regulations and Institutions made representations to AICTE, which prompted AICTE to reform the existing Regulations and clarify some issues.

  • Recognising the importance of inter-disciplinary learning, it has clarified that Ph.D acquired from inter- disciplinary Centres/ Departments in relevant area in relevant discipline in which faculty has acquired BE/ B. Tech. and ME/ M. Tech. Degree can be considered by the Institutions.
  • Realising the shortage of competent and qualified faculty, in filed of Pharmacy, it has clarified that qualification of M. Pharm (Quality Assurance) to the post of Lecturer/Asst. Professor in Pharmacology can be considered by the Institution. Similarly, in field of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, it has allowed the Institutions to consider relaxing Ph.D qualification in HMCT Programme due to scarcity of Masters/ Ph.D degree personnel in HMCT.
  • The qualification of Ph.D acquired for the various level of posts directly after B.E/B.Tech. awarded by a University following the process of registration, course work and evaluation etc. as prescribed by UGC or awarded by the Institutes of national importance (i.e. IITs/IISc/ NITs etc.), duly recognized by the MHRD can also be considered for the appointment of faculty/Principal/ Director in Technical Institutions, provided the candidate should have obtained at least first class at Bachelor’s level in Engineering /Technology.
  • MS degree acquired from NIT, IIT and IISC Bangalore etc., can be considered equivalent to ME/ M. Tech., for appointment as Asst. Professor in Engineering disciplines, provided MS degree has been acquired from the Institutes of national importance as recognised by MHRD and the basic degree should be BE/B. Tech. in relevant branch and in case if awarded by an accredited foreign Universities/ Institutions shall be considered provided that the equivalency of MS degree has been approved by AIU.
  • Recognised integrated B.E/B.Tech. Degree, Integrated B/E./B.Tech.-MBA and Integrated B.E./B.Tech.-M.Tech., and Dual Degrees awarded shall be recognised for direct recruitment & promotion of faculty under CAS.
  • It has also laid down guidelines for considering Industrial experience for appointment of faculty. Though it say that working experience in public sector undertaking is preferred, however it clarifies that work experience in private sector can also be considered provided the Industry has a successful continuous standing of at least 10 years. The area of operation of Industry shall be related to the relevant field of discipline. 50% of the total service rendered in industries shall be considered as an equivalent to teaching experience provided total experience is at least 10 years and above.
  • Academic performance index (API) requirement of teachers appointed in Regulatory/ Advisory bodies & Funding Agencies of State/ Central Govt. on deputation/ Lien/Foreign service shall be relaxed and the ACR/self appraisal performance report shall be taken as equivalent to API, provided the candidate has scored at least “Very Good” and above rating in the ACR.

EduLegaL View:

It is good to see that the Regulators have touched the reality and have realized that there is shortage of faculty, according to the qualifications, which have been prescribed by them. This was long awaited measure. Infact this seems to a parallel of acclaimed “economic liberalisation” to “educational liberalisation”.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

Information Panel puts ceiling to cost for seeking copies of answer sheet only at a cost of Rs 2 per page, censors practice of charging exhorbitant fees

RTI

In a major relief to the students, the Central Information Commission has directed all the Universities in India, including deemed Universities and all examining bodies to provide copies of answer sheet only at a cost of Rs 2 per page. It has also directed UGC and Association of Indian Universities, to circulate, publicize and insist on implementation of the rule in all academic/examining bodies. It has also directed MHRD to circulate this order to all examining bodies including Universities and make it mandatory for them to bring uniformity in the rules and regulations by fixing cost at not more than Rs 2 per page of answer sheet.

CIC was examining the rule of Delhi University, which prescribed Rs. 750/- per application for seeking copy of the Answer Sheet. CIC has not only prescribed this ceiling, at the same time it has held that rules prescribing a student to pay exorbitant fees for seeking copy of answer sheets are in violation of Right to Information Law and must be changed to allow a student to exercise his Right to Information.

CIC gave this ruling while hearing a Complaint / Appeal regarding constraints including huge fees being charged for providing certified copy of evaluated answer sheet. The aggrieved student was questioning the regulation of Delhi University alleging that it enables University to impose unreasonable time­ frames and cost constraints on their right to secure copy of answer­sheet. CIC also ruled that such rules are against the law settled by Supreme Court of India.

Section 7 of RTI Act says: “…provide the information on payment of such fee as may be prescribed…” Section 7(2)(a) says that the PIO has to ‘give details of further fees representing cost of providing the information as determined by him together with the calculations made to arrive at the amount in accordance with fee prescribed under sub-section(1) requesting him to deposit that fees….”. As per Section 7(2)(b), the PIO has to inform the applicant “concerning his right with respect to review the decision as to the amount of fee charged or the form of access provided…”. Rule 4 of the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules 2005, framed by the Central Government mandates the following rates, (a) rupees two for each page or actual cost in case of larger size paper.

CIC relied on Judgements of the Supreme Court in case of CBSE v Aditya Bandopadhyay and ICAI v. Shaunak Satya, which has held that evaluated answer-book is an ‘information’ under the RTI Act and cannot be under any exemption prescribed under RTI Act.

CIC also relied on the Judgement of Rajasthan High Court in relation to the exorbitant fee charged by a University to extent of Rs 1000 for copy of answer sheets, which had held that charging of exorbitant fees of Rs.1,000/- for the purpose of providing copy of answer-book to a student by the respondent-University is in violation of object and purpose of the Act of 2005 and is an ill-intended attempt on the part of the University to discourage the students from seeking certified copies of their answer-books.

CIC felt that imposing time and cost constraints over and above the norms prescribed by RTI Act and Rules and charging Rs 750 per paper, which far more than Rs 2 for copy per page (as prescribed) will impose economic burden on a student, who has paid an examination fee to meet the expenditure to conduct examination including the cost of evaluation. This is a huge amount over and above the fee collected, for recounting and re­evaluation. CIC also felt that charging so high a fee/cost will not only deny the accessibility, but also immunize the public authority from being accountable to students. The resultant situation is: If a student cannot pay Rs 750, the Delhi University will become not accountable for its evaluation! This is against objective and scheme of RTI Act.

answer sheet.jpg

 

It finally held that that “prescribing unreasonable cost and time constraint will in fact amount to complete denial of information to the students on grounds of their economic status, which is in violation of Article 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution of India. No citizen shall be discriminated on the basis of his access to resources or any criteria including poverty as per his fundamental report to equality. It is very sad that educational institution like university is not mindful of the basic fact and they are going on denying information to the students, by imposing high cost, which means if you cannot afford, you cannot access. Thus, charging of Rs 750 per answer sheet will amount to breach of sections 3, 6 and 7 of the RTI Act.”

 It thus held that high cost of Rs 750 per paper for securing copy of answer­sheet and time conditions that a student has to approach only after 61 days and before 75 days after result declared will unreasonably restrict the right to access to his own answer book and breakup of marks awarded.

EduLegaL View

There are two concepts of law “substantive” and “procedural”. While RTI Act, 2005 guarantees “Right to Information” to an Indian Citizen, which is substantive law. Rules made by Public Authorities prescribing the condition for implementation of this “substantive law” is part of “procedural law”.

Public Authorities by way of delegated legislation cannot frame a “procedural law” by which exercise of “substantive law” becomes difficult or impossible. The “procedural law” has to aid the “substantive law”.

Making RTI Rules, to make it difficult for a student to exercise his Right to Information is infringement of liberty of students to get a photocopy of answer script and their right to access the information. The rules cannot prescribe unreasonable time and cost constraints, as “Right to access the Information” is inherent in “Right to Information”.

Read the Full Judgement.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

Statutory Councils not in support of pursuing two degrees simultaneously

UGC2

University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued a Notice dated 15th January 2016 stating that its consultations related to allowing students to pursue two degrees simultaneously has not received a positive response and hence the possibility of allowing a student to pursue two degrees has hit a road block.

Earlier, in year 2012, a Committee headed by Mr. Fuqran Kamar, Vice-Chancellor, Central University of Hyderabad, Mr. Manoj Kumar Mishra, Vice Chancellor, University of Lucknow and Prof. Sudhanshu Bhushan, NUEPA, New Delhi had recommended that students enrolled in a regular degree course should be allowed to pursue an additional degree simultaneously under open or distance education mode from the same or different university. However, students should not be allowed to undertake two regular degrees at the same time, the committee had held.

The Committee had also recommended that students enrolled in a regular degree course should be allowed to pursue an additional one Certificate/Diploma/ Post Graduate Diploma in regular or distance mode, from the same or different university.

The Committee was not in favour of allowing two degree programmes under regular mode simultaneously as it may create logistic, administrative and academic problems.

The University Grants Commission finally at a meeting on July 31, 2013 decided to accept its Committee’s recommendations on permitting pursuit of an additional degree programme, in the manner as aforesaid.

However, recently, UGC has notified that it had sought the comments of statutory councils on the issue of allowing pursuing two degrees simultaneously, but the responses of the Statutory Council was not encouraging. UGC has therefore directed the Institutions that they shall conduct their programmes in accordance with the First Degree and Master Degree Regulations, 2003 prescribed by the UGC and also follow the norms and parameters prescribed by the Statutory Council concerned, wherever relevant.

EduLegaL View:

The recent notice, without any clarity on the earlier Resolution has added to confusion for academic governance.

Pursuing two courses simultaneously allows a student to do value addition to him and enhance his knowledge and skill. It also adds to the prospect to his employability.

Not allowing pursuing two degree programmes in name of “logistic, administrative and academic problems” is a weak response to the growing demands of the students and such issues can easily be addressed.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

UGC directs Deemed Universities / Institutions not to pay sitting fees to Govt. Nominees

UGC in its recent circular issued on 05th January 2016 has brought a sweeping change in age old system in Higher Educational Institutions of giving sitting fee allowance to the officials of the Ministry or attached institutions who are nominated as Government representatives in the institutions in various capacities and directed that Government Nominees on various board of Educational Institutions shall not be paid any sitting fees allowances directly.

MHRD realised that the nominated officers are attending these meetings only in their official capacity as Government nominee/nominee of Secretary or on. Ex-officio basis and it may not be appropriate to receive sitting fee for doing routine official work and directed UGC to issue necessary instructions.

Acting on the instructions of MHRD, UGC has issued this circular and asked all its Bureau Heads to communicate to the Institutions, which come within its purview that not to pay any sitting fee allowance to the officials of the Ministry or attached institutions who are nominated as government representatives in the Governance structure of these institutions such as board of management, board of Governors, Syndicate, Executive Council Finance Committee etc.

Further for Government nominees attending meetings in private institutions (such as deemed universities) UGC has directed the Deemed Universities to remit the sitting fee amount (due to govt. nominees) in the Consolidated Funds of India.

It is notable that by virtue of Clause 5.7 of the UGC [Institutions Deemed to be Universities] Regulations, 2010, there is a Nominee of Central Government on the Board of Management of a Deemed University. Similarly, there is a representative of a Central Government on Finance Committee of a Deemed University.

EduLegaL View:

This is a welcome move by UGC. Payment of “Sitting Allowance” to Government Officials for being nominee on Government Institutions was against the principles of “Office of Profit” for a Public Servant.

On the same lines, even if the Government Officials were functioning as “Nominee” for Private Institutions, then also they were discharging Government functions only and hence paying them for discharging government functions was amounting to “financial benefit”, which is not permissible. Therefore asking the Deemed Universities to deposit the sitting fees in Consolidated Funds of India is certainly an appropriate step.

You can read the Notification here.

MHRD constitutes committee to deliberate on setting up Yoga Department and start courses in Yoga in Universities

MHRD after deciding to set up Department of Yogic Art and Science in the Universities during a consultative meeting with Vice Chancellors in Bangalore on 2nd January 2016, has now constituted a Committee under the Chairmanship of Prof. H.R. Nagendra. Chancellor, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana, Samsthana, Bengaluru to look into the various aspects pertaining to setting up of Departments of Yogic Art and Science.

The Committee will deliberate on other pertinent issues including starting courses and programmes like Certificate, Diploma, Degree, Post Graduate Degree/ Diploma and Research in Yoga and the levels at which they can be offered. This will also mean that the Committee will have to determine eligibility qualifications for students joining Yoga and faculty teaching Yoga.

Infact things come out as expected then Yoga will part of NET Examination which is conducted by UGC every year. The Committee has also been asked to see whether existing departments of yoga in Universities can be upgraded to be developed as Departments Yogic Art and Science.

The Committee also consists of Prof. Suresh Lai Barnwal, Prof. Ishwar Bhardwaj, Prof. Neel Kamal, Swami Atmapriyananda, Pandit Radhey Shyam, Prof. O.P.Tiwari Kaivalayadhama, Prof. Subramanayam, Prof. P.Venkat Rangan and Sri Rupen Bhowmik.

The Committee has been asked to submit its Report within 45 days.