The Madras High Court today directed the technical education regulator AICTE not to take any punitive action against certain deemed-to-be universities in Tamil Nadu which have not responded to its notice seeking applications for approval of courses for 2018-19. Justice R Mahadevan passed the interim order effective for two weeks when a batch of petitions, including those from the Vellore Institute of Technology and Veltech Deemed University, came up for hearing.
The petitioners prayed the court to declare as unconstitutional and ultra vires of the University Grants Commission Act the public notice issued by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) last year and as inapplicable to them.
They contended that they were governed by the UGC and AICTE had no power to ask them to seek approval as new institutions. VIT’s counsel submitted that the AICTE vide its notice has invited applications for approval from all the existing and proposed technical institutions for conducting technical programmes/courses, including course of management for 2018-19 academic year.
The last date for submitting applications by new institutions was January 31. The notice stated that deemed-to-be universities seeking approval for the first time from the AICTE (in compliance with a Supreme Court order of November 3, 2017) should submit an application as a new technical institution.
The counsel contended that the apex court order was applicable only to institutions offering technical course degrees awarded by the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode and not the deemed-to-be universities.
Veltech Deemed University submitted that after being declared a deemed-to-be university, it was functioning under the guidelines of the UGC which along with the Human Resources Development Ministry was monitoring its activities.
Hence, the AICTE has no power to seek its approval by the petitioner university as a new one, counsel for the university argued.