Government of Karnataka, while amending the Karnataka Professional Education Regulation (Regulation of Admissions and Determination of Fee) Act of 2006, vide Karnataka Professional Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Determination of Fee) (Amendment) Act, 2015 made an attempt to interfere and regulate the admission and entrance test procedure of the Deemed Universities.
The amended sections Section 2(ff) included the definition of deemed-to-be-universities treating them at par with private and professional colleges in the State and Section 4B, apart from specifying methods of admission, also mandates constitution of an association for conduct of common entrance test besides directing for 25 per cent seats to be filled by CET conducted by the state government and quota for the State Government.
Some of the Deemed Universities based in Karnataka approached Karnataka High Court and challenged the action of the State Government. It was contended by the Universities that Deemed Universities having come into existence by Notification issued by the Central Government under a Central Statute, cannot be restricted by State Government by imposing rules regulating their entrance procedure and admission process. It was also argued that these regulations are against the law settled by the Supreme Court and also ultravires to the Constitution of India. It was also contended that the amendments breaches the academic and operational autonomy of the Institutions.
A vacation bench of Justice Anand Byrareddy and Justice P S Dinesh Kumar on hearing the Deemed Universities by way of an Interim Order permitted the Deemed Universities to publish their own calendar of events and conduct their own entrance tests for post-graduate and under-graduate courses to select candidates for admission to professional courses offered by them.
This time for an exception, instead of having my own view, I choose the echo the observations of the Supreme Court in the famous TMA Pai’s Foundation Case:
- Private education is one of the most dynamic and fastest growing segments of post-secondary education at the turn of the twenty-first century. A combination of unprecedented demand for access to higher education and the inability or unwillingness of government to provide the necessary support has brought private higher education to the forefront…….
- The right to establish and administer broadly comprises of the following rights:-
(a) to admit students:
(b) to set up a reasonable fee structure:
(c) to constitute a governing body;
(d) to appoint staff (teaching and non-teaching); and
(e) to take action if there is dereliction of duty on the part of any employees.
- The right to establish an educational institution can be regulated; but such regulatory measures must, in general, be to ensure the maintenance of proper academic standards, atmosphere and infrastructure (including qualified staff) and the prevention of mal-administration by those in charge of management. The fixing of a rigid fee structure, dictating the formation and composition of a government body, compulsory nomination of teachers and staff for appointment or nominating students for admissions would be unacceptable restrictions.
- Merit is usually determined, for admission to professional and higher education colleges, by either the marks that the student obtains at the qualifying examination or school leaving certificate stage followed by the interview, or by a common entrance test conducted by the institution, or in the case of professional colleges, by government agencies.
I therefore rest my case !
Ravi Bhardwaj | firstname.lastname@example.org