Delhi University has proposed an amendment to the Delhi University Act to give itself the power to establish “research facilities beyond the limits of the National Capital Region (NCR)”. The proposed amendment was passed by the university’s Executive Council (EC) — the highest decision-making body — on Monday.
However, a few members of the EC have raised questions about the motive behind the move, saying it will open the door for affiliation of private colleges and research facilities. The proposal will be submitted to the Centre for approval from the visitor, who is the President of India.
Clause 5 (1) of the Delhi University Act, 1922, talks about territorial jurisdiction. DU has proposed an amendment to this. The clause reads, “Save as otherwise provided in this Act, the powers of the University conferred by or under this Act shall not extend beyond the limits of the state of Delhi, and notwithstanding anything in any other law for the time being in force, no educational institution beyond those limits shall be associated with or admitted to any privileges of the University.”
The amendment, however, adds, “Further, the university may establish its research facilities beyond the limits of NCR.”
The EC agenda documents with The Indian Express show that during the March 7 meeting, DU had placed for the amendment of a sub clause of 5 (1) — clause 5 (1) (A). But when the minutes of the meeting was placed before the EC on July 3, it proposed that the entire clause be amended.
Clause 5 (1) (A) of the Act reads, “Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), the central government may, if it is of opinion that it is necessary or expedient so to do in the public interest, direct, by order in writing, the University to admit to its privileges any institution situated outside India and the University shall be bound to comply with such direction.”
The elected members have opposed the proposal, saying instances of mis-governance are on the rise.
“The university is pushing for the autonomous college scheme on the behest of MHRD, which is an abdication of its own responsibility of DU. In this scenario, we are apprehensive of the expansion plan which may be a part of privatisation of education,” a dissent note signed by three EC members states.
A university official, however, said the amendment was passed following due process of law.
An EC member A K Bhagi also said the amendment was in the right direction and in the interest of students. “If DU can expand institutions outside NCR, then… students will not have to come all the way to Delhi and can get good education from wherever they are based,” he said.
There are over 1,60,000 regular students enrolled at DU currently. Three lakh students study in the School of Open Learning. DU has 63 colleges under it.