21-Nov-2017

SC cancels engineering degrees given by deemed universities through correspondence course

NEW DELHI: Engineering degrees of hundreds of students who pursued education through correspondence course from four deemed Universities — JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Institute of Advanced Studies in Education in Rajasthan, Allahabad Agricultural Institute and Vinayaka Mission Research Foundation in Tamil Nadu from year 2001 onwards have been quashed by the Supreme Court.
 
A bench of Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit, however, allowed students of 2001-05 batch to get their degree by appearing in the examination to be conducted by AICTE but it cancelled the degrees of students of subsequent batches as the deemed university had not got approval from authorities for the course.
 
"As regards students who were admitted after the academic sessions 2001-2005, their degrees in engineering awarded by the concerned deemed to be universities through distance education mode stand recalled and be treated as cancelled.
 
All benefits secured by such candidates shall stand withdrawn. However, the entire amount paid by such students to the concerned deemed to be universities towards tuition fees and other expenditure shall be returned by the concerned deemed to be universities," the bench said.
 
The apex court also restrained deemed universities from offering correspondence courses without getting approval from AICTE.
 
"We restrain all "deemed to be universities" to carry on any courses in distance education mode from the academic session 2018- 2019 onwards unless and until it is permissible to conduct such courses in distance education mode and specific permissions are granted by the concerned statutory/regulatory authorities in respect of each of those courses and unless the off-campus centres/study centres are individually inspected and found adequate by the concerned statutory authorities.
 
The approvals have to be course specific," the bench said. The court also directed CBI inquiry to catch the government officials who had allowed deemed universities to offer the distance learning courses which was not allowed.
 
The court asked the government to constitute a high-level committee to examine the functioning of deemed universities.
We direct the CBI to carry out thorough investigation into the conduct of the concerned officials who dealt with the matters and went about the granting permissions against the policy statement, as indicated in Para 49 above and into the conduct of institutions who abused their position to advance their commercial interest illegally.
 
"The Union of India may constitute a three members Committee comprising of eminent persons who have held high positions in the field of education, investigation, administration or law at national level within one month.
 
The Committee may examine the issues indicated above and suggest a road map for strengthening and setting up of oversight and regulatory mechanism in the relevant field of higher education and allied issues within six months.
 
The Committee may also suggest oversight mechanism to regulate the Deemed to be Universities.
 
The Union of India may examine the said report and take such action as may be considered appropriate within one month thereafter and file an affidavit in this Court of the action taken on or before August 31, 2018" it said.