University Grants Commission has notified in Official Gazette amendments made in UGC [Deemed to be Universities] Regulations, 2010 majorly relating to admission and governance.
UGC had earlier set up a Committee in 2012 to review the Regulations in light strong criticism of the Regulations that it violates the autonomy of the Private Deemed Universities. The proposed amendments were being deliberated for a long time and were finally approved in meeting of UGC dated 10th January 2014. The effected amendments have been notified in Official Gazette on 24th May 2014.
Some of the important amendments are as under:
(A) UGC has now allowed that a Deemed University can also be proposed to be established by a Charitable Company. Earlier, only a Society / Trust could submit proposal for establishing Deemed to be Universities. Similarly the proposed Deemed University can now be a Charitable Company also. Earlier, the proposed Deemed to be University was allowed to be registered only as only Society / Trust. Under the new Company Law, provisions for establishing charitable companies are provided u/s 8 of the Companies Act, 2013.
(B) It further widens the gap between the Sponsoring Society and the Deemed University and makes it clear that members of the Sponsoring Society shall not be connected with the members of the of the Trust / Society / Company of a Deemed Universities. In the previous Regulations, this gap was only restricted to the appointment of Chancellor.
(C) It has made substantive amendments in Regulation 6, relating to admission procedure of Deemed to be Universities. It restricts the DUs from charging fees, in excess of the amount, which has been fixed by the Fee Regulations of Government / Commission.
(D) In respect of selection procedure, it has allowed Deemed Universities to follow their own procedure for selection of students, as notified in the prospectus if such DUs have not been subjected to select students through an admission specified by an appropriate statutory authority. In respect of admission of NRI / PIO / Foreign Students, it has asked DUs to follow the Guidelines / Regulations framed by Commission from time to time.
(E) It has laid down the norms for publishing prospectus in detail. The amendments prescribe that the prospectus should clearly state i] each component of fees; ii] percentage of refundable amount; iii] intake capacity; iv] conditions of eligibility including qualification, minimum and maximum age limit; v] process of selection of students including details of admission test; vi] details of teaching faculty; viii] details of infrastructure including hostel, library, hospital and other resources; viii] broad outline of syllabus; ix] rules of discipline etc. UGC has also directed the DUs to publish such information as prescribed on the website.
(F) The amendments also restrict the DUs from making unreasonable profit out of sale or distribution of prospectus. The amendments also restrict the DUs from charging Capitation Fees for admission to any seat.
(G) It has made it clear that admission to a Deemed to be University shall be made only Notification issued by Central Government in exercise of power conferred u/s 3 of UGC Act, 1956. Any admission done in anticipation of Notification shall be considered as violation.
(H) In respect of status of properties owned by DUs in the event of withdrawal /dissolution of Deemed Status, there is a departure from earlier provisions. The amendments provide that in such case, the property would be transferred to the Commission for meeting the liabilities. The previous Regulations had mandated that in such case, the property would stand forfeited.
(I) In the amendment, UGC has also restricted the expansion of the DUs to limit the number of Off Campus Centre to maximum of Six Off Campuses beyond its geographical boundaries. In the previous Regulations, there was no such numerical restriction.
(J) UGC has now set the time limit for conducting courses in Distance Educationby Deemed Universities. It has now prescribed that no Deemed University can conduct courses in Distance Education after expiry of Ten Years from the commencement of these amended Regulations.
(K) In respect of appointment of Vice Chancellor, the amendment has completely done away with the procedure prescribed in the earlier Regulations. It has now prescribed that the process of selection of Vice Chancellor shall be in accordance with the UGC Minimum Qualification for Appointment of Teachers and Other Academic Staff Regulations, 2010.
These amendments have come into force from May 24, 2014 and shall apply to all the Deemed Universities.
Post these amendments, UGC in its Meeting dated 13th June 2014 proposed further amendment to the Regulations by allowing President of the Sponsoring Society to be the Chancellor of the Deemed University, provided the person is a distinguished academic and the Deemed University has a] completed 25 years of existence; b] Is in NAAC “A” Category and c] Is placed in A Category by Tandon Committee.
The amendments in view of EduLegaL are not substantive in nature. These amendments can be said to be “clarificatory” in nature. Several provisions relating to admission and prospectus already exist in other UGC Regulations.
While UGC is amending the Regulations to correct the errors done by it earlier, it cannot also loose sight of the fact that the UGC Deemed Universities Regulations, 2010 has been declared unconstitutional and invalid by Hon’ble Karnataka High Court, while deciding bunch of Petitions filed by several Deemed Universities. Similarly there is STATUS QUO as respect the said Regulations in favour of several Deemed Universities by order of Hon’ble Madras High Court.
It should reconsider several other provisions which encroach upon the fundamental right of Deemed Universities to establish and administer educational institutions, which grant them right to constitute governing body, admit students, lay down reasonable fee structure, appoint employees, etc.