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SC raps UGC for delaying varsity verification process

“Why are you moving on in a snail’s pace,” a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Vikramajit Sen observed when it was told that the UGC has not yet submitted the report on seven such universities to the Centre.

“UGC is not waking up. You are a statutory body but unfortunately you are not doing your statutory duty,” the bench said and added that “there is a need for you to come out of the slumber”.

The remarks were made when Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for UGC was trying to explain the circumstances for the delay by submitting that there was a need to modify the apex court order as the commission cannot go the way PN Tandon Committee made categorisation of the deemed universities like “A”, “B” and “C” depending on the fulfilment of criteria.

The UGC said it can only do the inspection and after seeking response of such universities, place the report with the Centre which has to express its view before the apex court.

Taking note of the submission of UGC, Centre and other stakeholders, the bench asked the Commission to comply by its September 26, 2014 direction on seven such universities and Gurukul Kangra Vishwavidyalay within four weeks on phyisical verification.

It said in next one week, the Ministry of Human Resources Development will place its view in the apex court, which posted the matter for hearing on February 23.

The bench said the same order will be there for the rest of the 34 such universities whose physical verification has been conducted and have been found to meet the criteria of being termed as deemed universities.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared for the Centre while senior advocates Rajiv Dhavan, Vikas Singh, Pravin Parekh and Amarender Sharan appeared for some universities.

The bench on September 26 had ruled out the suggestion of verification through photographs and videography, saying it was not an acceptable mode of determining the credentials.

It had asked the UGC to complete within three months the physical verification of 41 deemed universities.

It had said that after completing the procedure of verification and rectification of deficiencies, the UGC will file its report both to the Centre and the apex court.

The Supreme Court had earlier last year directed the UGC to examine all the reports of the 41 deemed to-be universities and advise the central government.

These universities had gone to the Supreme Court after they were put in the ‘C’ category in 2009 by PN Tandon Committee, a retired professor from prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

After the Supreme Court’s direction, UGC had set up a committee under vice chairperson of UGC H Devaraj, which heard all the 41 deemed universities separately.

A decision to issue show cause notice was taken for seven such deficient deemed universities by the Centre as to why they should not be denotified. But later it was left to the apex court.
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