Higher institutions which are yet to be granted “deemed” status by the Universities Grants Commission (UGC), are now in a fix after the Supreme Court’s latest directive restraining them from associating the word “university” with their names. According to The Indian Express, the higher education regulator will take punitive action against the institution. The directive comes after the Supreme Court’s November 3 ruling that cancelled engineering degrees given by deemed universities through the correspondence course. The apex court suspended such degrees granted by four ‘deemed to be universities’ between 2001 and 2005.
“The institutions are hereby directed to restrain from using the word ‘university’ with its name, failing which necessary action would be initiated in accordance with the UGC (institutions deemed-to-be-universities) Regulations, 2016. Instead, the Institution may mention the word ‘Deemed to be University’ within parenthesis,” the UGC said in its directive quoted by IE. The move would affect institutions such as Manav Rachna University and Lingaya’s University in Haryana, Christ’s University and Jain University in Bengaluru and Symbiosis International University in Pune.
The move has stunned many institutions who believe that this decision would affect their brand name and create confusion among students regarding their status as to whether they are autonomous/affiliated institutions or degree-awarding institutions, as per The Times of India. “We are surprised by this judgement. Actually, the case was about distance education courses run by some of the deemed universities. When private universities established under the State Act can associate the word ‘university’ with their names why deemed universities, established under Section 3 of the UGC Act, can’t. Not using the word ‘university’ will affect admissions of foreign students,” Vidya Yeravdekar, principal director of Symbiosis Society was quoted saying by TOI.
However, the institutions can use an “alternative name” as they are not entirely at fault. “Such deemed-to-be-universities can also apply for an alternative name with the HRD Ministry,” UGC secretary P K Thakur was quoted saying by IE.