The Delhi High Court today sought response of the Centre government in a plea which challenged University Grants Commission (UGC)’s admission norms. The plea was filed by Students’ Federation of India’s (SFI), which challenged UGC’s admission norms for M.Phil and Ph.D courses in the country. A bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra has also issued notice to the UGC and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) seeking their replies on SFI plea against UGC norms. The bench has directed the Centre government to file an affidavit on April 28 with regard to the contentions raised in the writ petition by the students’ body, reported Press Trust of India.
Delhi High Court yesterday ordered JNU to respond to a petition challenging a single judge’s order which dismissed student’s plea against the university’s new admission policy for the academic year 2017-18 based on a 2016 UGC regulation.
SFI in its plea which was filed on April 10, challenged the constitutional validity of the UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of MPhil and PhD degree) Regulations 2016 which came into effect from July 5, 2016. It has termed the UGC Regulations as “irrational, unreasonable and arbitrary” and alleged that it is contrary to the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy.
Apart from the SFI, three other students, one from the JNU and two from the Delhi University (DU) who aspire to pursue research courses from JNU challenged the regulations in the High Court.
The petitioners have contended that, in JNU, the regulations have resulted in a massive seat cuts for the M.Phil and Ph.D courses for the 2017-18 academic year.
The petition said that, JNU had notified for only 102 seats this year, while the university notified for 970 seats last academic year in these two degrees.
The HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, however, defended the move saying JNU professors guide more researchers than they are mandated to.
The Minister’s statement came in March, during the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha when members expressed concern about the state and the quantum of research, including PhDs, being done in the country.
SFI pledges to fight the unconstitutional and anti-student decision of the UGC both in court, and on the streets.