New Delhi: The University Grants Commission on Wednesday told 29 deemed universities to drop the word "university" from their names within 24 hours or face the prospect of losing the deemed tag.
UGC secretary P.K. Thakur wrote to these institutes, which include Symbiosis International University, Pune, and the Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Educational and Research Institute, Belur Math, and asked them to respond by 4pm on Thursday.
Swami Suvirananda, general secretary of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, said: "We are aware of the UGC's recommendation and have accordingly made the necessary changes."
The changes were made on the basis of a letter sent to the Math and Mission by the (Belur) institution's management board, he told The Telegraph. "If the word 'university' has still remained on the website, it is because of oversight."
Seven of these 29 institutes have been told to apply for alternative names within the deadline. The rest have been asked to revert to their original names mentioned in a notification issued by the human resource development ministry before they started using the term "university" following permission from the UGC in 2006.
The HRD ministry grants deemed university status to institutes based on recommendations from the UGC, the higher education regulator.
Both the letters from Thakur carried a common warning: "Failure to comply with these directions would amount to violation of the UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2016 and necessary action would be initiated... which may include recommending withdrawal of the declaration notifying the institution as an Institution Deemed to be University to the Central Government."
The 29 institutes include some of the country's most sought-after education destinations, like the SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai; the Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Udupi, Karnataka; Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar; Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT), Bhubaneswar; and the TERI School of Advanced Studies, Delhi.
Only a few among the 29, however, have the word university in their names although every one of these institutes uses the term in their websites and for all practical purposes.
Some of the 123 deemed universities across the country don't use the term university at all, such as the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
The Thursday deadline followed an earlier letter the higher education regulator had sent to all the 123 deemed universities on November 10, giving them 15 days to stop using the term. That was after the Supreme Court had ruled earlier in November that none of the country's deemeduniversities could use the word "university" in their names.
Officials of two affected deemed universities said all these institutes were in the process of filing a review petition to the top court. The petition, they said, was most likely to be filed on Thursday.
"We requested the HRD ministry and the UGC to take steps to amend the deemed university regulation or the UGC Act to allow the deemed universities to use the word university. But nothing happened. We are moving court seeking a review of the apex court ruling," said a vice-chancellor.
Additional reporting by our Calcutta bureau.