The Supreme Court has stopped the Central Government from divesting 44 universities of their special "deemed university" status.
A bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice AK Patnaik ordered status quo on the special grading of the 44 deemed university on a plea by several university dons flocking to the court with the plea that the Government move would create havoc and panic among the students.
"Nothing will happen to your institutions and your students till we dispose the matter," assured Justice Bhandari as various senior counsel, representing various deemed universities, opposed the government's move to derecognise them.
The bench also issued notices to each of the 44 deemed universities separately to have their say on the issue and adjourn the matter for next hearing .
The bench gave the order while hearing a public interest lawsuit by an advocate Viplav Sharma, questioning the Government's generous stance in according deemed university status to increasing numbers of educational institutions, which allegedly have been doubling up as educational shops.
As the bench began the hearing, Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati, appearing for the Central Government sought two weeks' time to file a comprehensive affidavit on behalf of the government, detailing the procedures that it proposes to adopt for derecognising various deemed universities, lacking proper academic performance and poor infrastructure.
Vahanvati also told the court that the Government was fully conscious of the uncertainties that the students studying in these universities may face and accordingly, the affidavit would detail the government's "well considered steps" to ensure that the students are not disturbed.
But the very submission of the government's top law officer made nearly half a dozen high profile senior counsel, including Fali S. Nariman, K. Parasaran, Rajeev Dhawan, Ranjit Kumar, Ayan Sundram and Dushyant Dave see red over the government's proposed move against the education shops.
They charged that the Government was taking action on the basis of a panel, Tandon Committee, which does not even have a statutory backing and wanted the court to examine if the government's proposed action was legal.
The governments' move would create havoc in the academic world and create panic among students, they claimed.
Some of the senior counsel contended their clients' universities were being derecognised within months after they got the deemed university status after due inspection by the University Grants Commission.