Do we need deemed universities, asks Supreme Court

New Delhi, July 31: The Supreme Court Friday asked the government if the country needs any deemed universities, which have mushroomed amid complaints that instead of imparting quality education many of them have been fleecing students.

‘Why deemed university at all? Don’t you think the status of deemed university should be abolished in all the states?’ asked a bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Mukundkam Sharma, while hearing a lawsuit of 2006 questioning the misuse of the deemed university status by many institutes.

Responding to the bench’s observation, Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam submitted: ‘This aspect of the subject is also being looked into by the government.’

The bench also asked the government to file an affidavit detailing the number of private educational institutions, which have been accorded deemed university status since 2006.

It also sought the details about the number of applications made by private educational institutions for deemed university status but rejected by the government as well as the number of pleas the government might currently be processing.

The bench was hearing a public interest lawsuit by advocate Viplav Sharma, questioning the government’s policy on deemed universities.

Appearing for Sharma, advocate Sanjay Hegde accused the government of misusing the provisions of the University Grants Commission Act, which provides for grant of the deemed university status to educational institutions of excellence.

Hegde said this provision was enacted on a recommendation by a committee, headed by Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, in 1948.

The advocate contended that the government however has significantly diluted the stipulations for giving this status to educational institutions, which have resulted in their mushrooming growth without any quality control.

He said an educational institution, located in one part of the country, comes up with hundreds of off-campus institutions, virtually selling degrees to students for a price.

He also wanted to know from the government if there was any provision to revoke the deemed university status given to a private educational institution.