THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court on Monday directed the University Grants Commission (UGC) to take a decision in its scheduled meeting on November 15 for release of required funds to financially strained Panjab University. The directions came from a division bench comprising Justices S S Saron and Lisa Gill when Additional Solicitor General of India Satya Pal Jain informed the court that the UGC was going to conduct a meeting on November 15 on the issue.
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The court also asked the Centre as well as the Punjab government as to why they cannot increase the grant to the Panjab University as per its increased requirements. As of now, the university is being provided 92 per cent funds by the Centre and though 8 per cent is expected from the Punjab government, for the last three years, it has been providing a fixed annual grant of Rs 20 crore.
The court was hearing a case wherein it had taken suo motu notice of a news item headlined “Panjab University may shut down by January if Centre doesn’t clear funds: VC” in The Indian Express on September 4. During the resumed hearing on Monday, the university’s registrar Colonel (retd) G S Chadha was present in the court. The university’s senior counsel Girish Agnihotri informed the court that in case the UGC does not accept its revised requirement of Rs 277.72 crore, it shall lead to accumulation of deficit of Rs 107.72 crore up to the end of the financial year. He also informed the bench that the university does not have funds to pay salaries of the December month to its staff.
The varsity has submitted that the root cause of the financial difficulty of the varsity is that while the increase in the internal income of the university has been commensurate with the rate of increase in the total recurring expenditure of PU, the contributions from the successor state governments and the Central governments have not matched this trend since 2013-14. The division bench directed the UGC to inform the development about its November 15 meeting to the court on the next date of hearing on November 25.
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