The Centre has told the Supreme Court that 44 deemed or private universities which have been under scrutiny have failed to meet the government's standards. 14 of them are in Tamil Nadu and one in Puducherry. They were first faulted by the Tandon Committee, which submitted its report to the government in October 2009. The committee was formed to evaluate infrastructure, faculty and other basics at the hundreds of deemed universities that have multiplied across the country, due to the lack of quality educational institutions.
The Tandon Committee had found that many of these colleges were being run as "family fiefdoms". The government accepted this report, leading to huge protests by students in Tamil Nadu.
In January this year, the universities in question asked the Supreme Court to grant them more time to battle the Centre's complaints against them. The government then set up a panel of experts to review the findings of the Tandon Committee. The universities have once again been found wanting.
It's now upto the Supreme Court to decide what happens next. The case will be heard on November 22. In the past, the court has promised that students will not be penalised. In fact, the government said that their degrees would be valid, because they would be affiliated to state universities.
Deemed universities are entitled to autonomy in deciding their fees, syllabus and other matters. Many deemed universities are run by politicians and get the prized "deemed" status based on political connections rather than merit.