Thursday 1 September 2011

UGC can impose terms to make deemed universities improve quality: Madras HC

Written by Anil Singh

Dismissing petitions filed by 14 deemed to be universities and Tamil Nadu Deemed Universities Association challenging the UGC (institutions to be deemed Universities) Regulations 2010, the Honorable Madras High Court has ruled that the UGC has the right to continuously impose conditions to make deemed universities maintain their quality as institutions of higher learning.

Dismissing the petitions, Justice K Chandru said the institutions had willingly executed a memorandum agreeing to abide by the UGC guidelines and could not now go back on it.

The rules which aim at improving education by reducing involvement of family members in managing institutions, can be great instruments in improving the quality of these deemed universities. Setting aside the plea, that a founder has the power to bring his/her family members in managing the institution, the Honorable Court said, the concept of the Trust founder or founder having power to bring his family members does not arise after having established the trust or society. Adding that, "Once a trust is established, the role of founder is not of a proprietor but to maintain the objectives and ideals for which the trust is formed. The founder is only a trustee and not proprietor."

The Honorable court thus completely rejected the plea of the petitioners that family members of the founder, who has invested a huge amount in building the institution, could not be prevented from holding the post of chancellors and pro-chancellors. Setting the record straight, Justice Chandru said that the objective of the trust was to run educational institutions of higher learning and not to have direct or indirect control over the said institutions.

Underlining that the Control by family members will negate the very purpose of learning and jeopardize autonomy of the institutions, besides leading to an undesirable result as found out by a review committee appointed by the Centre, the honorable Court upheld the supremacy of UGC guidelines in this regard.

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