The Supreme Court suspects a foul play in University's Grant Commission's decision to submit to the the Centre a report on 41 deemed varsities which faced de-recognition, after taking stock of their infrastructure and teaching faculty strength through video presentation.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Vikramjit Sen had a few questions for additional solicitor general Maninder Singh, who appeared for UGC. "Why should you avoid physical inspection? These days, photographs can be dangerous; you do not purchase a house by seeing its photograph."
"Are you trying to tell us that you will analyze these institutions using photographs? We are not accepting this concept of inspection through video or photographs. Do not expect us to digest that there is no difference between 2009 inspection and 2014 inspection."
The bench became suspicious after it was informed by one of the 41 institutions that UGC's expert committee had called for video presentations and did not conduct on-the-spot inspection as mandated by Clause 4.16 of the UGC (relating to Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations 2010.
Bharath Institute for Higher Education and Research, through senior advocate Harish Salve, said it had nothing to hide and was willing for a fresh physical inspection. The bench ordered UGC to inspect the institution and wondered why a uniform order could not be passed for all 41 institutions.
UGC had last inspected the 41 deemed universities in November 2009 following the P N Tandon Committee report classifying them as "unfit" to be declared deemed universities.
The bench told UGC that in all its earlier orders, the commission had claimed no objection for fresh physical inspection. Singh said UGC even now had no objection to fresh physical verification of the deemed universities blacklisted by the Tandon panel.
Some of the institutions objected to fresh physical inspection and asked the court to restrict its order to such institutions desirous of such re-inspection. "Why should you feel shy of physical verification," said the bench while posting the matter for detailed hearing on Friday.