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AICTE and UGC Lock Horns over Regulatory Powers

All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and University Grants Commission (UGC) lock horns over the order from the apex court that reiterates that the approval of AICTE is not required to obtain permission and run MBA courses by private institutions since it does not fall under the definition of technical education.

According to reports from the sources the apex court had also said AICTE’s role vis-a-vis universities was “only advisory, recommendatory and one of providing guidance and has no authority empowering it to issue or enforce any sanctions by itself”. Instead, the apex court had said regulatory function was with UGC or the university.

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To fill the vacuum, UGC has written to all universities with affiliating colleges that no new courses should be approved by them. UGC also said it would not approve any new course. A senior UGC official said, “This has been done to fill the vacuum. AICTE had already finished the process for 2013-14 by the time the SC order came. For 2014-15, new process would be announced later.”

However, AICTE officials said UGC’s letter to universities should not have been sent. “It will lead to confusion. UGC is aware that HRD ministry is preparing an ordinance to undo the SC order,” an AICTE official said. UGC officials said its letter was just to make it clear that some regulatory mechanism was in place.

Meanwhile, ministry sources said efforts were underway to ensure HRD ministry’s ordinance was taken up by the Cabinet this week. The ordinance redefines ‘technical institution’ and includes “colleges, maintained or admitted to the privileges of university, affiliated colleges, constituent colleges, autonomous colleges, colleges recognized by any university, department of private or deemed universities”. The SC had said only MCA fell under the definition of technical education.

Since the SC had pointed out that amendments in regulations of AICTE Act were not placed before Parliament, the ordinance says provisions of AICTE Act shall have effect notwithstanding any court order and any other law for the time being.

Source:http://www.timesofindia.com