The Delhi High Court on Tuesday stayed a single judge order that upheld the JNU admission policy to implement a UGC notification putting a cap on the number of M.Phil and Ph.D research scholars. A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra in an interim order stayed the single judge order till April 28, the next date of hearing, on an appeal filed by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students.
“The impugned (single judge) order has given findings and made absolute propositions of law which would have wide ramifications,” said the division bench, adding: “It is directed that till the next date of hearing, there shall be stay of the effect and operation of the findings on law of the single judge.”
Some of the students have filed an appeal against the March 16 order of Justice V.K. Rao, who had refused to grant any relief to JNU students saying the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) regulations are “applicable and binding” on the university.
Filing an appeal against the March 16 order, students contended that the single judge had erroneously granted complete supremacy to the applicability of the UGC Act.
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JNU students contended that the UGC notification dated May 5, 2016, “threatens to put our future in jeopardy” as they would not be able to find research supervisors/guides due to the said notification”. The JNU authorities had told the court that the notification was “binding” on the varsity and 43 central universities were already abiding by it.
The varsity had said it will neither receive grants nor could award degrees if it stopped following the UGC regulations. The notification was adopted by the university during its 142nd Academic Council meeting on December 26, 2016, amid protests from several council members.
The students had argued that the notification’s ramifications will extend beyond existing researchers and lead to few admissions of research aspirants in the current academic session.
Both existing and prospective students, who moved the high court, had agreed to undertake that they were not challenging the UGC notification but restricting their case to “procedural lapses” on the JNU’s part in adopting the notification. The students had said the JNU did not include their representative in the meetings held to discuss the notification’s implementation.