The University Grants Commission (UGC) has advised all the privately-funded state universities to stop their operations, if any, beyond their territorial jurisdiction, as off-campus study centres operating through franchises would violate a decision of the Supreme Court in 2005.
The apex court’s decision was in response to objections raised by former UGC chairman Professor Yash Pal over the Chhattisgarh government’s decision to set up universities without caring for the availability of infrastructure, teaching facility or their financial resources.
Replying to a question by Rajeev Shukla and T Subbarami Reddy in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Human Resource Development, D Purandeswari, said while the privately-funded state universities are created by state legislatures, they are declared by the central government as ‘deemed to be universities’ under Section 3 of the UGC Act.
These institutions can set up off-campus centres all over the country with prior approval of the central government. “The UGC has started reviewing the functioning of existing institutions ‘deemed to be universities’ via on-the-spot assessment,” added Purandeswari.
She also told the Rajya Sabha that by denying refund of fees to students, who withdraw from courses, educational institutions continue to violate the government’s directions. Regarding this, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has received 1,456 complaints regarding non-refund of fees or non-return of original certificates by June this year.
Of these cases, 656 were not related to AICTE and have been forwarded to respective organisations. Notices have been issued to the 800 institutions under the AICTE, she said. About 570 institutions have already complied with the requirements of the notice, while reminders are being sent to the remaining institutes, she said.
The AICTE had issued public notices earlier, warning action against institutes which do not refund fees and do not return certificates to students withdrawing from courses in these institutions.
On the vacant reserved seats in Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Purandeswari said that of the 1,265 seats reserved for Scheduled Caste students, 337 are vacant. These seats are being allotted to students in the respective categories for preparatory courses, who then take admission to the first year programme in the IITs.