Disabled people have right to get higher education: SC

Disabled people have right to get higher education: SC
Disabled people have right to get higher education: SC

People with disablility have a right to get higher education and not making adequate provisions to facilitate their proper education would amount to “discrimination”, the Supreme Court said today.

Ir directed the government institutions of higher education and other such institutions, which were receiving aid from the government, to comply with the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

The Act provides for reservation of not less than five per cent seats for persons with benchmark disabilities.

A bench of justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said that appropriate consequential action under the provisions of the Act would be initiated against the defaulting educational institutions.

It asked the University Grants Commission (UGC) to constitute a committee to consider the feasibility of having guidelines for accessibility of students with disabilities in universities and colleges.

It said the committee would undertake a detailed study to make provisions in respect of accessibility and facilities of teaching for disabled persons and would also suggest the modalities for implementing those suggestions, their funding and monitoring.

“The expert committee may also consider feasibility of constituting an in-house body in each educational institution (of teachers, staff, students and parents) for taking care of day-to-day needs of differently abled persons as well as for implementation of the schemes that would be devised by the expert committee,” the bench said, adding that the exercise be completed by June 30 next year.

It said that an action taken report in this regard be placed before it in July 2018.

The court’s verdict came on a plea which had raised three key issues, including the non-implementation of reservation of seats in educational institutions as provided in the Act and provision for proper access to orthopaedically disabled persons so allow them to freely move in educational institutions.

The bench noted that a provision under the 2016 Act provided that persons with benchmark disabilities shall be given an upper age relaxation of five years for admission in institutions of higher education.

“Accordingly, we direct that all those institutions which are covered by the obligations provided under Section 32 of the Disabilities Act, 2016 shall comply with the provisions of Section 32 while making admission of students in educational courses of higher education each year,” it said.

The court said such educational institutions shall submit a list of number of disabled persons admitted in each course every year to the chief commissioner or state commissioner.

It said it raised the critical issue of creating a level- playing field where all the citizens have equality of fair opportunities to enable them to realise their full potential and experience well-being.

“To ensure the level-playing field, it is not only essential to give necessary education to the persons suffering from the disability, it is also imperative to see that such education is imparted to them in a fruitful manner,” it said.

“Not making adequate provisions to facilitate proper education to such persons, therefore, would amount to discrimination,” it said.

The bench said that such requirement was to ensure that a student with disability, after proper education, would be able to lead an independent, economically self-sufficient and fully participatory life.

Regarding the law colleges, the court said intimation about number of admission given to disabled students be sent to the Bar Council of India (BCI).

“Other educational institutions will notify the compliance, each year, to the UGC. It will be within the discretion of the BCI and/or UGC to carry out inspections of such educational institutions to verify as to whether the provisions are complied with or not,” it said.

( Source – PTI )

HC dismisses students’ plea against JNU admission policy

The Delhi High Court today dismissed as “infructuous” a plea challenging JNU’s admission policy based on a 2016 notification of the University Grants Commission which capped the number of students per professor for MPhil and PhD courses.

“Petition dismissed as infructuous,” Justice V K Rao said.

The court said that the regulations made by UGC have to be followed by all varsities, including the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

In its 37-page judgement, the court said that if the students’ plea is accepted, it would amount to “rewriting the law”.

The students had challenged the admission policy on the ground that the May 5, 2016 UGC notification was implemented by JNU without following proper procedure.

JNU, represented by central government standing counsel Monika Arora, had contended that the procedure was a mere formality as the notification was binding on all varsities in the country.

Source: PTI

Decide on deemed varsity status of 44 institutions, SC to UGC

bbThe Supreme Court has asked the UGC to examine a report on 44 institutions recommended to be deprived of their deemed university status after their academic standard was found to be far from what was expected and decide their fate.

A bench of Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Vikramajit Sen said it was only concerned with the legality of the continuance of deemed university status with respect to the 44 institutions.

It said in its order passed Tuesday that there was “some conflict” between the report prepared by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and that of the Prof. P.N. Tandon committee.

Noting that there were three reports – one by the Tandon committee, another by the UGC and still another by the committee of officers, the court said the UGC “had no occasion to examine” the Tandon report and the other report has not been placed before the UGC.

The court said the UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2010, enables both the central government and the UGC to inspect the institutions which are deficient in terms of academic standards and infrastructure.

It directed the UGC to examine both Tandon’s and the other report.

The court said institutions were “free to raise their objections against the reports” and the UGC has to consider the same and take a decision in accordance with the law.

After examining the reports and hearing the 44 institutions, the court said the “UGC has then to tender its advice to the central government with its report”.

It, however, noted the UGC’s advice was not binding on the government “but has to be given due weight since the UGC is an expert statutory authority”.

The court also made it clear that it has not given its “stamp of approval to any of the reports and it is for the UGC to consider all the reports, with notice to the 44 institutions, in accordance with law”.

Tandon headed a committee set up to review existing institutions deemed to be universities. The committee in its report submitted in October 2009 divided the institutions into three categories.

In the first category, the report found their working satisfactory and recommended their continued status as deemed university.

In the second category, the committee found them deficient in some respect but recommended giving them three years time to graduate to the first category.

However, it said 44 institutions faced the prospect of being denotified as deemed universities, as they “neither on past performance nor on their promise for the future, have the attributes, in our considered opinion, to retain their status as universities”.

(Source: IANS)

Court notice to UGC over private varsities

himachal high courtTaking suo motu cognisance of a media report, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has issued notice to the University Grants Commission (UGC), asking it about the steps it has initiated to implement regulations pertaining to establishment and operation of private universities in the state.
From the news item that has appeared in The Tribune, it transpires that the UGC is abdicating its authority bordering on non-performance and disregarding the violations committed by the private universities, a division bench of Chief Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Kuldip Singh observed last week.
The court observed that “this is polluting the environment of quality education to be imparted by the universities”. The high court Oct 19 set aside the State Private Educational Institutions (Regulatory) Act of 2010 that empowered a government regulatory commission to monitor universities. The court also directed the state through the chief secretary and the principal secretary (education) to file its reply on the issue.
It also sent a notice to registrars of all private universities to file their response pertaining to irregularities mentioned in the news item. The UGC, the state and the universities have been told to file their respective replies by Nov 13.
It was mentioned in the news item that the UGC seemed to be unconcerned about enforcing its regulations pertaining to the establishment and operation of private universities and till date it had conducted inspections of only five universities. After the judgment, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has made it clear that a regulatory body was required to maintain quality of education.
“We are considering to file an appeal against the high court judgment. We are taking legal opinion. A final decision in this regard will be taken only after that,” he told reporters here. The judgment to quash the State Private Educational Institutions (Regulatory) Act came on the petition of the Himachal Pradesh Private Universities Management Association, which was seeking setting aside of the act and quashing of notices issued to them.
The bench of Chief Justice Khanwilkar and Justice Kuldip Singh had declared the act unconstitutional on the ground that the state legislature was incompetent to enact such a law on a subject covered by the field occupied by Entry 66 of the Union List.
Entry 66 of the Union List stipulates that a teaching university will not come within the purview of the state legislation on account of the specific nature of determination of standards in institutions for higher education being in the Union List for which parliament alone is competent to legislate.
“Accordingly, we may have to declare the Act of 2010 ultra vires and void ab initio,” they ruled. Official sources told IANS that the regulatory commission had played a crucial role in pointing out irregularities by the universities. These were: enrolling students even before the institution came into existence; admitting students even without fulfilling minimum qualification; filling more than approved number of seats and registering research scholars to Ph.D courses without UGC approval.
(Source: IANS)

Delhi HC notice to UGC on wrong evaluation of UGC-NET exam 2012

University Grants Commission (UGC) has been noticed by the Delhi High court on a PIL filed by two students that wrong evaluation of UGC-Net Examinations held in December 2012 led to lowering of their marks and denial of UGC-NET qualification to them.

Justice GS Sistani issued notices to UGC and asked them to file their reply within four weeks and fixed July 12 as the next date of hearing.

The petition, filed by Shruti Jain and Amandeep Kaur through their advocate Ashok Agarwal, said that answer key of English Paper-II wrongly acknowledged option A instead of option B as the correct answer to question number 29.

According to the students, the correct answer is option B, which is backed by assertions of senior professors from several Universities and over a dozen books and web-sources.

‘The action on part of the UGC in denying UGC-NET qualification to the petitioners is illegal, unjustified, arbitrary, discriminatory, unreasonable, unconstitutional and violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India,’ Mr Agarwal contended.

Both the petitioners who hail from Tehsil Malout District Muktsar-Punjab contended that the UGC should conduct a re-evaluation and allow them a chance to qualify the examination.

AICTE’s role only advisory, not to issue sanctions: SC

The role of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is only “advisory” and it has no authority to issue any sanction on universities, the Supreme Court has said while clarifying that colleges affiliated to varsities are not required to take its approval for running MBA and MCA courses.
The apex court said as per provisions of the AICTE Act and University Grants Commission (UGC) Act, the council has no authority which empowers it to issue or enforce any sanctions on colleges affiliated with the universities as its role is to provide guidance and recommendations.

“Also, from the reading of paragraphs 19 and 20 of ‘Parashvanath Charitable Trust case’ it is made clear after careful scanning of the provisions of the AICTE Act and the University Grants Commission Act, 1956 that the role of AICTE vis-a-vis universities is only advisory, recommendatory and one of providing guidance and has no authority empowering it to issue or enforce any sanctions by itself,” a bench of Justices B S Chauhan and V Gopala Gowda said.

The court also said MCA is a technical course while MBA is “not a technical course” within definition of AICTE Act.

“The same (MCA) is a technical education and therefore, it comes within the definition of technical education but for its proper conduct of courses and regulation the role of AICTE must be advisory and for the same, a note shall be given to the UGC for its implementation by it but not the AICTE,” it said.

“Therefore, for the reasons assigned while answering the points which are framed in so far as the MCA course is concerned, the approval from the AICTE is not required for obtaining permission and running MBA course by the appellant colleges,” the bench said.

 

PTI

Delhi University assures HC on biometric attendance for teachers

Delhi University (DU) Wednesday assured the Delhi High Court that it would “expeditiously” adopt and implement the biometricattendance system for teachers to ensure punctuality.

Following the assurance, the court disposed of a plea seeking introduction of biometric attendance system for DU teachers.

“On the assurance given by the university, the court hopes and expects that biometric system of attendance would be introduced expeditiously,” said the division bench of Acting Chief Justice and A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw.

Last month, the court had issued notice to DU authorities after a public interest litigation (PIL), filed by an organisation called Indian Council of Legal Aid and Advice, sought the introduction of the biometric system to register the attendance of lecturers and other teaching staff of the university.

The affidavit filed by the registrar said: “The University of Delhi is committed to adopt and implement measures which are favourable and beneficial to the university system as a whole, such as the biometric system of attendance for its teachers in order to ensure their presence in colleges and ensure the participation of all teachers in the teaching/learning process.”

It added that the varsity was committed to implement the system in order to obviate chances of irregularity or mischief in maintaining correct record of attendance of each teacher, but sought cooperation from teachers in this regard.

“The teachers after the implementation of sixth pay commission have lucrative pay packets and are expected to fully justify the trust and confidence reposed by the society on them by working tirelessly for the betterment of the taught so as to prepare them for facing the challenges of life with confidence and knowledge,” read the affidavit.

The teachers are not expected to stall the move, which is aimed at uplifting the standards of teaching facilities, according to the reply filed by DU.

The PIL had said that the attendance system should be introduced to ensure that a teacher “adheres to the teaching hours and days prescribed by the UGC (University Grants Commission) and the university rules”.

R.K. Saini, counsel for the petitioner, had earlier said that the UGC in its regulations in 2010 provided that “universities and colleges must adopt at least 180 working days, that means there should be minimum of 30 weeks of actual teaching”.

The PIL also said that as per the UGC norms, the workload of teachers should not be less than 40 hours a week for 180 teaching days, apart from being available for at least five hours daily in the college.

“The working hours actually being put in by a lecturer/assistant professor/teacher in Delhi University daily are just about three and half hours,” the petition said.

The plea said it seemed that the university was not implementing the biometric system under pressure from teacher unions.

In December 2009, the university unsuccessfully tried to introduce the University Grants Commission.

Court notice to Delhi University on teachers’ attendance

The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued notice to the Delhi University and the University Grants Commission (UGC) on a plea for introducing biometric attendance system for teachers to ensure punctuality.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw sought response from the university and the UGC by Sep 19, the next date of hearing.

The public interest litigation (PIL), filed by an organisation called Indian Council of Legal Aid and Advice, said that the biometric system to register the attendance of lecturers and other teaching staff should be introduced.

It said that the system should be introduced to ensure that a teacher “adheres to the teaching hours and days prescribed by the UGC and the university rules”.

Advocate R.K. Saini, appearing for the petitioner, said that the UGC in its regulations in 2010 provided that “universities and colleges must adopt at least 180 working days, that means there should be minimum of 30 weeks” of actual teaching.

He submitted that as per the UGC norms, the workload of teachers should not be less than 40 hours a week for 180 teaching days, apart from being available for at least five hours daily in the college.

“The working hours actually being put in by a lecturer/assistant professor/teacher in Delhi University daily are just about three and half hours,” the petition said.

The plea said it seemed that the university was not implementing the biometric system under pressure from teacher unions.

In December 2009, the university unsuccessfully tried to introduce the biometric system in colleges.

Book online ragging complaints and get action within 15 minutes

From July 26, students at universities and professional institutions can lodge online complaints against ragging or harassment by anyone on the campus. This is being done to ensure that the complaints are followed up with the institutes’ administration and police within 15 minutes of receiving a complaint.

 The HRD ministry is likely to unveil the portal on July 26, and the facility is being developed with the help of Rajendra Kachroo, father of Aman, who lost his life to ragging at a medical college in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, in 2009.

 The University Grants Commission (UGC) took up the initiative at the behest of a Supreme Court order. While hearing ragging-related cases, the Supreme Court had ordered the government on May 8, 2009, to take several measures to combat the menace, including setting up of a central crisis hotline and anti-ragging database containing the details of each student.

 “The portal will help students lodge their complaints, and it will be our responsibility to reach the administration quickly. All our communication, talks and discussions would be posted on the web so that the victim has complete access to what has happened since s/he lodged the compliant. The entire file on such cases will be uploaded,” Rajendra Kachroo.

 The portal also promises to end the practice of students being made to file an affidavit on non-judicial stamp paper pledging against ragging. “They can download the affidavit from the website, and fill relevant details for submission. Affidavit filing will not only be hassle free, but also help create a database of all students,” he added.

 The UGC had appointed the Aman Satya Kachroo Trust, of which Rajendra is the founding trustee, as the monitoring agency of the anti-ragging call centre. Now, the call centre receives about 35-40 distressed calls from students across the country. Kachroo said that most of the complaints are against harassment. “The launching of government website will have a greater impact on students, and we expect increased awareness among students. It will encourage them to report in case they are targeted or harassed by anyone on the campus,” he added.

Court questions Delhi University on Ph.D. admission

The Delhi High Court Wednesday asked the Delhi University to give details of the criteria it has set for pursuing Ph.D. if an applicant is working.

The court was hearing a plea of Metropolitan Magistrate Twinkle Wadhwa, who sought its direction to the university to consider her application for enrolment to the Ph.D. programme.

The division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said: “The university should file an affidavit regarding criteria of the university required for pursuing Ph.D., in the condition applicant is working.”

“If a teacher of the Delhi University can be allowed to pursue a Ph.D. course to enhance academic acumen, why should a judge be compelled to take study leave to go for a research programme?” said the petition.

During the arguments, the bench said Ph.D. was a fulltime course and needed concentration as it was related to research work.

“If one is doing two works at a time, the person’s mind may get distracted,” said Justice Khanna, adding that while pursuing LL.M., students needed 75 percent attendance and they could even attend classes in two shifts, which was not possible with the Ph.D.

The case would be heard next Sep 27.

During the last hearing, the university claimed that it was merely following a regulation of the University Grants Commission.

The UGC defended its rule, arguing it was meant to maintain academic standards.

“The Ph.D. is a full-time programme for which the student needs to devote himself or herself for obtaining such degree. The UGC is of the view that in order to

maintain standards of research degrees, a degree in the nature of Ph.D. cannot be termed part-time,” the university told the court.

Wadhwa approached the court last year after the university refused to allow her to pursue a Ph.D. course as she was employed as a judicial officer. The university asked her to take study leave for two years.

“The impugned rule under the 2008 regulation was arbitrary and vitiated from unequal treatment because while everyone else was required to apply for a two-year

study leave, those employed as teachers in Delhi University colleges and schools could pursue the course and work at the same time,” said Wadhwa in her petition.

The petition requested the court to quash the university’s ordinance necessitating such condition, and direct the university to consider her application for enrolment to the Ph.D. programme.