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Last year, vide Judgement in April 2013, in the case of Association of Management Colleges, Supreme Court had held that the expression “University” includes “Affiliated Colleges” and hence affiliated colleges offering technical courses are not required to take approval from AICTE for commencing and conducting technical courses. The Apex Court further went ahead to clarify that MBA is not covered within the expression “technical education”.

Thereafter UGC on 23.12.2013, published Draft Regulations of Approval Process for Technical and Professional Courses by Universities for public opinion.

This started the reversal process of the April 2013 Judgement of the Apex Court. Some of the Institutions, offering Post Graduate Diploma Courses in Management, who felt their academic autonomy, is being infringed approached Supreme Court seeking Direction to AICTE to continue to operate as the regulatory authority of the PGDM institutions for the Academic Year 2014-2015.

The direction sought was conceded by the AICTE in the proceedings by making a statement that AICTE continues to operate as a regulatory authority of the PGDM Institutions.

Thereafter, a substantive Writ Petition came to be filed again before Supreme Court by Orissa Technical Colleges Association and the Apex Court speaking through Division Bench of Hon’ble Justice R M Lodha and Hon’ble Justice Kurian Joseph, noted that averment made in the Affidavit by AICTE that Approval Process Handbook (2013-14) is presently in force and the same has been extended and made applicable for the Academic Year 2014-15 as well.

The Apex Court therefore vide its Order dated 17.04.2014 adjudicating on interim relief ordered that:

“AICTE shall now proceed in accordance with the Approval Process Handbook for the Academic Year 2014-15 insofar as the members of the petitioner Association and all colleges and institutions situated similarly to the members of the petitioner Association are concerned and necessary orders shall be issued by AICTE within ten days.”

However, the Order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court required further clarity and therefore vide Order dated 09.05.2014, Apex Court speaking through 4 Judge Bench of Hon’ble The Chief Justice, Hon’ble Mr. Justice A.K. Patnaik, Hon’ble Mr. Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar, clarified as under:

“The order dated 17.4.2014 passed by this Court is clarified and it is directed that prior approval of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is compulsory and mandatory for conduct of a technical course including the MBA/Management Course by an existing affiliated Technical College and also new Technical College which will require affiliation by a University for conduct of its Technical Courses/Programmes for the academic year 2014-15.”

The clarification given by the Supreme Court and clear and unambiguous to clearly state that Technical Courses including Management Courses conducted by Affiliated Courses require prior approval of AICTE and Judgement in April 2013 in a manner stands reversed.

Ravi Bhardwaj

Principal Consultant, EduLegaL 

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