Delhi High Court issues notices to Mahatma Gandhi University (Meghalaya), Central Government, Distance Education Council and UGC
The question of recognition and validity of degrees/ diplomas certificates awarded through Distance Education is once again making waves amongst the legal chambers of the capital. In early January 2013, Punjab Technical University (PTU) came into radar upon plea filed by a student pursuing MCA course through a study center of PTU. On March 21st 2013, the Delhi High Court allowed PTU to continue with examinations of the enrolled students and the also ordered PTU to restrain from admitting students for 2013 session until it obtain necessary approvals from UGC & Distance Education Council (DEC).
This time the private varsity, Mahatma Gandhi University (MGU) established in Meghalaya has come into notice after petition filed by its student in Delhi High Court alleging that the MGU Meghalaya has entered into various technical collaborations and opened study / learning centers across nation. One such center, Fashionista, charged him over one lakh rupees for diploma course. Later the student came to know that the center lacks basic arrangement and infrastructure like library, labs, teachers, etc. The student didn’t receive even the copy of the syllabus from the center or from MGU even after 6 months of the commencement of academic session.
As per the University Grants Commission (Establishment of and Maintenance of Standards in Private Universities) Regulations of 2003, “A private university established under a State Act shall operate ordinarily within the boundary of the State concerned. However, after the development of main campus, in exceptional circumstances, the university may be permitted to open off-campus centres, off-shore campuses and study centres after five years of its coming into existence and subject to the following conditions:
1. The off-campus centre(s) and / or the study centre(s) shall be set up with the prior approval of the UGC and that of the State Government(s) where the centre(s) is/are proposed to be opened.”
Even the apex body, DEC, governing the recognition of distance education in the nation failed to observe and adhere its own rule while granting approval to MGU Meghalaya which is reproduced below:
“As per the decision taken in 40th meeting of the Distance Education Council, the territorial of the State Universities (both govt funded and private) will be as per their Acts and Statutes but not beyond the boundaries of their respective State. No sub-letting of the study centres can be allowed and the University should close down such centres. Running of the study centers outside the jurisdiction should not be allowed.”
The private university, MGU Meghalaya, which got recognized by UGC by the mid of 2011 got approval from DEC within one year of establishment for almost all professional & traditional degree & post graduate degree programmes in management, sciences, animation, media, computers, etc. Interestingly, the varsity hasn’t got any approval from UGC to run these study centers and distance educational programmes beyond its territorial jurisdiction of the state, Meghalaya. The main campus of MGU at Meghalaya is still not developed.
However, respecting the DEC notice few state universities like Maharishi Dayanand University (MDU Rohtak), Guru Jambheshwar University (GJU Hisar), Sikkim ManipalUniversity (SMU Gangtok, Sikkim) have already shunned their operations beyond their respective state boundaries.
All other private varsities like MGU Meghalaya, Lovely Professional University (LPU Punjab), CMJ University Meghalaya, The Global Open University (Nagaland), EIILM University (Sikkim), NIILM University (Haryana), NIMS University (Jaipur) and many more are openly flouting rules. Sources even confirm that private varsities are even shelling out their regular and full-time degrees by franchising through private shops.
Source: - K. AnujMember Journalist Association of