SC raps AICTE for not adhering to court-mandated schedule

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New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday slammed the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for not adhering to the schedule for granting recognition to institutions and not intimating this to the APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University in Uttar Pradesh, thereby endangering prospects of the students.

“We can be exemplarily ruthless in dealing with any flouting of our order,” an apex court vacation bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Amitava Roy said during the course of the hearing, indicating that it may issue ‘contempt of court’ notice on the concerned officers.

“I am willing to issue the contempt of court (notice) to the officers,” the bench said.

“You (AICTE) don’t know how ruthless we can be if we realise you are hurting the future of the students of 608 institutions,” Justice Roy said taking exception to AICTE leaving just eight days for the university to decide on the application by the institutions seeking its affiliation.

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Pointing out that the court could not be taken for a ride or held to “ransom” by projecting the cause of the student to hide their own failures, Justice Roy said: “(Do you think) We are sitting here for nothing? I strongly feel about it.”

Pointing out that the AICTE acted in the matter casually and without adhering to the calendar fixed by the court in December 2012, the bench said there was serious laxity in following the time frame.

The bench asked the AICTE to file an affidavit explaining the delay in intimating the APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University about the recognition granted by it to 612 institutions. Of these, 608 are old and four are new.

Based on the reply by AICTE, which is the regulator of technical education in the country, the court would decide “cost and damages” to be imposed on it, the court said. The court gave AICTE one week’s time to file the affidavit.

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The apex court by its December 13, 2012 order had set a schedule for grant of recognition to institutions which AICTE failed to adhered to.

The court had then said: “Both grant/refusal of approval and admission schedule shall be strictly adhered to by all the authorities concerned including the AICTE, university, state government and any other authority directly or indirectly connected with the grant of approval and admission” and “no person or authority shall have the power or jurisdiction to vary the schedule”.

In the instant case, the bench extended the time till June 10 for the university to decide on the applications seeking affiliation. However, the court said that it was a one-time exception, considering the peculiarity of the case and should not be a treated as a precedent.

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Appearing for the APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University, Amitesh Kumar told the court that AICTE was to intimate the university about the recognition granted by it to 612 institutions by April 11 which it did 25 days later on May 7 at 7.00 p.m.

He told the court that May 7 was a Saturday, thereby pointing out any follow-up action by the university for the processing of applications for the grant of affiliation to these institutions commenced only on May 9.

Seeking an extension of time for the processing of the applications for the grant of affiliation, Amitesh Kumar told the court that rest of the admission process would be strictly in accordance with the schedule fixed by the apex court by its judgement of December 13, 2012.



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