Private varsities feel SC heat

New Delhi, Feb 11 | Updated: Feb 12 2005, 06:19am hrs
The Supreme Court on Friday quashed the setting up of over 100 universities under the Chhattisgarh Private Sector University (Establishment and Regulation) Act, 2002, and cancelled their registration. Amity, Rai, ICFAI and Mangalmay were some of the institutions which were accorded university status under the said Act.

To safeguard the interests of students, the court, however, said these institutions could register themselves with universities which were enacted prior to the Act. Uncertainty, however, looms large over the fate of students who have already been awarded degrees by these institutions.

The order was passed following a public interest litigation by former University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman Prof Yashpal. He had pointed out that UGC was the sole and central authority to examine the infrastucture available and the study courses offered by institutions before conferring upon them deemed university status.

Other states which had taken a route similar to Chhattisgarh include Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Vinay Rai, founder and president of Rai University, which has been affected by Fridays order, said Chhattisgarh had passed an Act which allowed it to accord university status to institutions based on the recommendations of a committee.

A horde of institutions were accorded university status within a span of two-three years since the law was enacted in 2002. Some other states like Gujarat and Uttaranchal, however, took every institutions application to the state legislature and enacted the setting up of universities individually.

RS Prasad, media manager, ICFAI, said the institution was notified as a university by the government of Uttaranchal, Tripura and Sikkim. The judgement is effective only in Chhattisgarh. We will decide the recourse after we get the judgement, he said.

According to Mr Rai, Chhattisgarh had last year amended the said Act and asked all private universities to deposit Rs 2 crore for 25,000 sq ft area. Only 37 had complied with it, which the court had not taken into account, he said, adding that he was waiting for the state to take corrective action. We spoke to the governor, chief minister and the education minister of the state and they have assured that 37 separate bills will be introduced soon in the legislature, he said.