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Gujarat HC yet to dispose of ABVP plea, Govt declares 7 institutes as CoE

Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the RSS's student wing, has challenged the amended Act that exempts institutes designated as CoE from common admission tests and fee regulations.

Written by Ritu Sharma | Ahmedabad |
January 9, 2022 1:52:53 am

Even as the Gujarat High Court is yet to dispose of the petition challenging the amendment to the Gujarat Professional Technical Educational Colleges or Insitutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fees) Act 2007, the Gujarat government on January 4 issued a notification declaring seven education institutes as Centres of Excellence (CoE).

Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the RSS’s student wing, has challenged the amended Act that exempts institutes designated as CoE from common admission tests and fee regulations.

The government notification, however, also added a clause that said, “Details regarding exemptions from all or any provisions of the Gujarat Professional Technical Educational Colleges or Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fees) Act, 2007 shall be notified separately by the Government’.

The institutes accorded status of CoE as per the latest notification are Nirma University Ahmedabad, Ahmedabad University, Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University (PDPU) now (Pandit Deendayal Energy University) Gandhinagar, Charotar University of Science and Technology (CHARUSAT) Anand, Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DAIICT) Gandhinagar, Marwadi University Rajkot and CEPT University Ahmedabad.

The notification further states, “The status of Centre of Excellence will be applicable only for the courses as specified in clause (k) of Section 2 ” of the Act and “run by the constituent institutions of the universities with the state of Gujarat”.

The clause (k) of section 2 of the 2007 Act lists “professional courses” such as Bachelor of Engineering and Technology and Diploma in Engineering, Bachelor of Pharmacy and Diploma in Pharmacy, bachelor of architecture and diploma in architecture, master of business administration as the state government may declare by notification in the official gazette,.

When contacted, Principal Secretary Education S J Haider told The Indian Express, “The issue has been resolved. The rules stating the quantum and type of exemptions for these institutes declared as Centre of Excellence through this notification will be issued in the coming days.”

The heads of these institutes were handed out the CoE status by Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel along with Education Minister Jitu Vaghani, Minister of State for Education (Higher and Technical Education) Kuber Dindor and Minister of State for Education (Primary, Secondary and Adult Education) Kirtisinh Vaghela during the pre-Vibrant Summit on education — International Conference of Academic Institutions on January 5 at Science City in Ahmedabad.

On May 31,2021 within hours of an in-principle approval for ‘centre of excellence’ to seven education institutes by the Gujarat government, the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) challenged the decision on the premise that the Gujarat Professional technical Educational Colleges or Institutions (regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fees) (Amendment) Act, 2013, has been challenged in the Gujarat High Court and the matter was sub-judice.

The rules challenged in the High Court states that the CoE status will bring in exemption from Fee Regulation Committee (technical) and Admission Committee for Professional Courses (ACPC) apart from the recognition, thus, granting complete autonomy to the institutes in admissions and fees by the state government.

In response to this petition, terming the exemptions given to institutes with ‘Centre of Excellence’ tag as “necessary”, the state government in an affidavit filed on June 15, 2021 before the High Court has submitted that the decision was aimed to “cultivate an environment” and best suited for “achieving academic excellence”.

The petition listed before the court on Thursday, was not taken up owing to paucity of time but ABVP’s advocate Sudhanshu Jha said that they will be challenging the January 4 notification by way of a draft amendment to the petition.

(With inputs from Sohini Ghosh)

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