The Delhi High Court today sought the JNU’s response on a petition challenging a single judge’s order dismissing some students’ plea against the varsity’s new admission policy for 2017-18 based on a 2016 UGC regulation. The students have claimed that proper procedure was not followed by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) while adopting the notification of the University Grants Commission (UGC) capping the number of students per professor for MPhil and PhD courses.
“The matter requires consideration,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra said and asked the varsity to file its affidavit before April 28, the next date of hearing. Rejecting the students’ contention, the single judge had said the UGC Act, under which the regulation was issued, was enacted by Parliament and would prevail over the JNU Act which lays down the procedure for adopting the notification.
The students were of the view that the regulation only sets the minimum standards and it was for the varsity to decide how to implement them. The single judge in its verdict passed on March 16 had refused to accept the students’ contention that the university can decide how to implement the regulations, saying once UGC framed the regulations, the varsity was required to follow it.
The single judge’s judgement had come on the students’ plea contending that the UGC notification dated July 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.
Apart from the JNU students, the Students Federation of India (SFI) has also moved the court against the UGC norms on the eligibility and manner of admission to the MPhil and PhD courses in the country. The SFI in its plea has challenged the constitutional validity of the UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of MPhil and PhD degree) Regulations 2016 which came into effect from July 5, 2016.
The students’ body termed the Regulations as “irrational, unreasonable and arbitrary” and alleged that it was contrary to the fundamental rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy.