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Madras High Court Bench stays UGC order barring study centres outside State

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The Hindu | Mohamed Imranullah S |

Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) filed the writ petition to quash the communication

The Madras High Court Bench here on Monday stayed the operation of a communication issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC) on August 12 prohibiting universities, both State and private, from establishing off-campus/study/outreach centres outside the territorial jurisdiction of their respective State. Justice D. Hariparanthaman granted the interim stay on a writ petition filed by the Madurai Kamaraj University to quash the communication, besides forbearing UGC from prescribing territorial jurisdiction for offering courses through Open and Distance Education mode. It claimed that 1.20 lakh students enrolled with it would get affected if the notification was implemented from 2015-16. Appearing for the petitioner, senior counsel K.M. Vijayan, assisted by T. Sakthi Kumaran, said the UGC had issued the notification on the basis of a 2005 Supreme Court judgment though the latter related only to striking down of Chhattisgarh legislation for establishing self-financed private universities and did not prescribe territorial jurisdiction for offering programmes through distance education.

However, the official communication issued by UGC Secretary Jaspal S. Sandhu stated that universities established through laws passed by State legislatures were not entitled to set up off-campus/study/outreach centres anywhere outside their home State since the apex court had ruled that only Parliament was empowered to enact laws for the entire country.  In its affidavit, MKU stated that it was the first university in the State and the second in the country to start distance education. It was at present offering about 150 programmes from pre-degree level to M.Phil., with the approval of the statutory authorities concerned and the Distance Education Bureau, formerly known as Distance Education Council of the UGC. Further, it had established 38 admission centres within Tamil Nadu besides 94 study centres in other parts of the country and 15 centres abroad. The courses being offered in all those centres under the direct supervision of the university faculty would get collapsed if the UGC communication had to be implemented from the coming academic year, it claimed. – Courtesy


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