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Rethink on deemed tag

New Delhi, Sept. 28: The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to consider if any of the 44 deemed universities found “unfit” for the tag could be shifted to the “deficient” category so they could sort things out in the “interest” of students.

Besides the unfit 44, a government-appointed review panel had found another 44 deficient, too, but suggested they be given three years to try and improve standards.

The court was asking the government to see if any of the unfit 44 could be moved to the deficient category so that students didn’t suffer.

“The court said one of the paramount interests is that of the students and how their interest should be protected, were any action to be taken against any of the institutes,” a source said.

“The bench said the government may consider taking a re-look at the list of institutions in tier-III and such institutions which are on the fringe may be shifted to tier-II.”

The two-judge bench also asked the Centre to file affidavits with a composite action plan on how the interest of students could be protected if any of the institutes found unworthy of the deemed tag were derecognised.

The institutes had been assessed on nine parameters and marked on a total score of 45. The 44 deemed varsities that scored less than 19 were labelled unfit for the tag and listed as tier-III institutes.

Another 44, which scored between 19 and 31, were labelled tier-II or the “fringe” category, as the court put it, according to the source.

Only 38, which scored above 31, were found to have maintained standards.

Four of the 130 deemed universities did not participate in the review.

The division bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma asked the unfit 44 to furnish details about their student strength and courses before the next hearing on December 7.

The human resource development ministry today filed a counter-affidavit to petitions of some of the deemed universities found unfit by the review panel. The varsities had contested the validity of the panel, headed by neurosurgeon P.N. Tandon.

The review was ordered by HRD minister Kapil Sibal soon after he took over in 2009.

The ministry will now seek the views of the review committee on the observations of the apex court.

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