Deemed varsities to fight for name

Several deemed universities will move the Supreme Court next week seeking a review of its judgment barring them from using the word 'University' with their names.

By Basant Kumar Mohanty
  • Published 18.11.17
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New Delhi: Several deemed universities will move the Supreme Court next week seeking a review of its judgment barring them from using the word 'University' with their names.

Hearing a case related to four deemed universities offering technical courses through the distance mode, the top court had on November 3 ruled that over 100 such institutions cannot use the word 'university' and cited Section 23 of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Act.

The section says: "No institution, whether a corporate body or not, other than a university established or incorporated by or under a central act, a provincial act or a state act shall be entitled to have the word 'University' associated with its name in any manner whatsoever."

However, a vice-chancellor of a deemed university contended that the provision was not applicable to institutions like his. "Section 23 is not applicable to deemed universities, which have been created under Section 3 of the UGC Act, a central act. Section 23 is applicable to fake universities. There are over 20 such fake universities."

The vice-chancellor said several deemed universities would file the review petition next week.

"While passing the judgment that affects all 123 deemed universities, the court has not given us a chance to defend. It only heard the four deemed universities running BTech courses in distance mode. This judgment has denied us the opportunity to defend how we are entitled to write 'university' with our name," the registrar of another deemed university said.

Lawyer Ravi Bhardwaj, who represents some deemed universities, said all such institutes had been set up under the UGC Act after thorough scrutiny of facilities. They were allowed to write "university" with their names by the government 10 years ago and could not be abruptly asked to stop it, Bhardwaj said.

Last week, UGC secretary P.K. Thakur wrote to the vice-chancellors of all deemed varsities to drop "university". They can use the term "deemed to be university" in parenthesis.

Those institutions whose names have been notified with the word "university" will have to apply with the new names to the HRD ministry or the UGC, Thakur said in the letter.