Delhi HC issues notice in plea challenging UGC regulation granting autonomous status to colleges

    Delhi High Court has issued notice in plea challenging the validity of UGC (Conferment of Autonomous Status upon Colleges and Measures for Maintenance of Standards in Autonomous Colleges) Regulation 2018, for being ultra vires of the University Grant Commission Act 1956.(GGSIPU v. UGC)

    The Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan has issued notice to the Union Of India.

    The plea by Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University claims that the regulation is ultra vires the parent act. University as alleged that the regulation results in the creation of parallel university which the commission is not empowered to set up.

    The Petitioner has alleged that the said Regulations are ‘unlawful’ and ‘arbitrary’ claiming that as per the Act of 1956, UGC is only empowered to make rules and regulations with respect to governance of Universities, and not individual colleges and institutions.

    The plea alleged that the Regulations strip the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University from all its powers and functions with respect to administration of colleges/ institutions affiliated to it and render it to be a mere rubber stamp.

    The Petitioner submits that the UGC has not provided any reason of creating separate regulation for autonomy whilst there is an existing substantive provision in the parent act under Section 3 for granting autonomy to colleges/institutions.

    The plea added that the regulations create an unsustainable administrative situation wherein the university to which the concerned college/institution is affiliated to, has a negligible role in assessing/granting autonomy. University is mere for formality it said.

    It is further argued that the said Regulations have been promulgated by misinterpreting the residual powers enshrined under Section 12(j) of the parent act. It is contended:

    ‘UGC has also relied upon Section 12(j) of the Parent Act for the promulgation of the Impugned Regulations which is merely a residuary provision and reliance by UGC on the same to promulgate the UGC Regulations is unfounded, as it is trite that the usage of residuary powers must be limited to the issues, topics and fields covered in an Act alone and not be used to foray into a completely new field of regulation and oversight.’