New Delhi, January 9: The Supreme Court Thursday pulled up the the University Grant Commission for the tardy pace which it was carrying out the inspection of eight institutions faced with the prospect of being stripped off their deemed universities status, while giving it four more weeks time to comply with the order.
A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Vikramajit Sen said that the "problem is UGC is not waking up.Our intention is let there be a fairness and rule of natural justice (in the inspection of deemed universities faced with axe)".
"The UGC must wake up and must inspect seven deemed universities as directed earlier (Sep 26, 2014) plus one (as directed Oct 27, 2014) at a particular speed and then inspect other universities," the court observed in the course of the hearing as several senior counsel representing these eight universities pointed to the slow pace with which UGC was carrying out the court's orders.
Giving more time for completion of the inspection, the court gave a week's time to the central government to consider and act on the report and recommendations of the UGC as it directed the next hearing of the matter Feb 23.
The court also asked the central government to give report on the recommendation of UGC in respect of another 33 deemed universities whose inspection was done through photographs and videos. The order came on an application by the UGC seeking extension of time by eight weeks to complete the inspection of the eight institutions.
The apex court had Sep 26, 2014, had held that "inspections would mean in all its connotative expanse physical inspection from all scores and spectrums" and UGC could not gloss over it as it ordered the inspection of eight institutions be carried out within 12 weeks and report submitted to the central government.
The court had then said: "After the inspection is conducted, it would be an obligation of the UGC to point out the defects/defaults so that the institutions can rectify the same in quite promptitude.
"A reasonable time shall be granted for the same for due compliance. Thereafter and only thereafter, the same shall be submitted to the central government and be filed before this court along with the recommendations of the UGC." The court's direction Thursday to UGC came after Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought the "UGC complete the inspection in a time bound manner".
The court order came in the course of the hearing of 2006 PIL by which petitioner, advocate Viplav Sharma, had pointed to indiscriminate conferring of the deemed university status in an arbitrary manner without application of mind and following criterion.
Senior counsel Rajiv Dhawan, K.V.Vishwanathan, P.H.Parikh and Vikas Singh told the court that the continued cloud on the status of their clients was coming in the way of their getting accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), grants by UGC and contracts by the specialised agencies.