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Improving research: High Court upholds Kerala University’s decision

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The Times of India | Mahir Haneef | TNN | Jan 9, 2017 |   Improving research: HC upholds Kerala Univ’s decision |

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court has upheld Kerala University’s decision to implement the regulations brought in by University Grants Commission (UGC) in May last year that aims to improve quality of research programmes but limits the number of scholars a faculty member can take.  A single bench of the court upheld the adoption of UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedures for Award of M.Phil/Ph.D Degree) Regulations, 2016 by Kerala University in July last year after considering two petitions filed by candidates who applied for admissions to M.Phil in March last year. The petitioners had alleged that their opportunity to be research scholars has been considerably reduced by the adoption of the UGC regulations as it introduced restrictions in the number of candidates who can be attached to a guide or supervisor.

While a total of eight research scholars were normally admitted under a guide earlier, the regulations stipulated that a professor cannot guide more than 3 M.Phil scholars at a time. An associate professor can guide up to 2 M.Phil scholars and an assistant professor can supervise only one M.Phil scholar, the regulations specified.  The petitioners had also contended before the high court that the university cannot deviate from the prospectus as the selection process was already over when the regulations were adopted.  Responding to the petition, the university submitted to the court that while the regulations came into effect on July 5th last year, only a provisional rank list was published on its website on August 25th last year. Through an order issued in October last year, it has been decided to allocate research supervisors from affiliated institutions of the university to solve the shortage of guides, the court was told.  Ruling in favour of the university, the court pointed out that adoption of the regulations does not change the selection process or eligibility conditions. Change regarding number of candidates a guide can take does not affect the candidate, the court said. Moreover, the regulations were adopted even before the selection process was completed, the court pointed out while declining to interfere. –  Courtesy

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