Supreme Court : “Universities can fix enhanced norms, standards for affiliation”

The Supreme Court in the case of, APJ Abdul Kalam Technology University v. Jai Bharat College of Management and Engineering Technology, held that universities cannot dilute the standards prescribed by the technical education regulator, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for any courses in colleges but they certainly have the power to stipulate enhanced levels and norms for grant of affiliations.

A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian allowed the appeal by the APJ Abdul Kalam Institute of Technology and set aside the decision of the Kerala High Court which had held that the University did not have the power to incorporate any additional conditions for affiliation and that the AICTE Regulations and the Approval Process Handbook constitute a complete code which has to be followed. The High Court also had directed the institute to re-consider the application for affiliation of a new B.Tech course, submitted by a college.

The Bench noted that the universities are being ranked according to the quality standards maintained by them. The ranking parameters include the teaching, learning and research. “No State run university can afford to have a laid­-back attitude today, when their own performance is being measured by international standards.”Therefore, the power of the universities to prescribe enhanced norms and standards cannot be doubted.

The Bench also stated that it is unfortunate that the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), has branded “the fixation of additional norms and conditions by the university as unwarranted”.

The Bench further stated that the regulations of AICTE are silent on many issues and ultimately, it is the universities which are obliged to issue degrees and whose reputation is inextricably intertwined with the fate and performance of the students and hence their role cannot be belittled”

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