The court recalled the engineering degrees awarded to students who were admitted after the academic session 2001-05 in these four deemed universities in distance education mode.
Supreme Court Restrains Deemed Universities From Offering Distance Courses: 10 Points
1. The verdict by a bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and U U Lalit came on a batch of appeals challenging the orders of the High Courts of Orissa and Punjab and Haryana by which the former held the degrees in engineering obtained by serving diploma holders through distance learning mode offered by certain deemed universities to be valid, whereas the latter termed such degrees to be invalid.
2. "We restrain all Deemed to be Universities to carry on any courses in distance education mode from the Academic Session 2018-2019 onwards unless and until it is permissible to conduct such courses in distance education mode and specific permissions are granted by the concerned statutory/regulatory authorities in respect of each of those courses and unless the off-campus Centres/Study Centres are individually inspected and found adequate by the concerned Statutory Authorities. The approvals have to be course specific," the top court directed.
3. The top court directed UGC to take appropriate steps and implement Section 23 of the UGC Act and restrain Deemed to be Universities from using the word 'University' within one month from today.
4. The top court also directed the government to constitute a three members Committee to examine the issues for strengthening and setting up of oversight and regulatory mechanism in the relevant field of higher education and allied issues within six months. It also asked the government to file an affidavit of the action taken on or before August 31, 2018.
5. The bench directed a CBI inquiry against the conduct of UGC officials who had granted ex-post facto approvals to the four deemed universities against the policy and into the conduct of these institutions which had abused their position to advance their commercial interests.
Read: Take Prior Approval From UGC Or AICTE For Distance Learning Courses: Supreme Court To Deemed Universities
6. The apex court directed that degrees of students who have pursued engineering in academic session 2001-05 from four deemed universities - JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Institute of Advanced Studies in Education (IASE), Rajasthan, Allahabad Agricultural Institute (AAI) and Vinayaka Mission's Research Foundation, Tamil Nadu, will remain suspended.
7. The top court accepted the view taken by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh and set aside the decision of the High Court of Orissa.
8. It set aside the ex-facto approvals granted by the UGC to these four deemed universities, terming them as "incorrect" and "illegal", and saying that such institutions were not justified in introducing any new course in technical education without the approval of AICTE.
Read: No Distance Course From Deemed Universities From 2018, Says Supreme Court
9. The top court directed the AICTE to hold tests for the students whose degrees would stand suspended by January 15, 2018 and said these students should not be given more than two chances to clear the examination.
10. If the students do not successfully clear the examination within the stipulated time, their degrees will stand cancelled and every single advantage on the basis of that degree shall also stand withdrawn, it said. The bench clarified that if the students clear the tests within the stipulated time, all the advantages shall be restored to them and their degrees will stand revived.
(With Inputs from PTI)
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(This article was first published on November 3, 2017 and was updates several times thereafter)