UGC notification on M.Phil, Ph.D scholars binding, JNU tells HC

New Delhi, (IANS): The Jawaharlal Nehru University administration on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that the UGC notification that a professor cannot guide more than three M.Phil and eight Ph.D scholars at any one time, was “binding” on the university.

Justice V.K. Rao was informed by advocate Monika Arora appearing for JNU administration that the University will neither receive a grant nor could award degrees if it stopped following UGC’s regulation.

JNU said 43 central universities were already abiding by the May 5, 2016, notification of the University Grants Commission.

The notification recommends an upper limit on the number of M.Phil and Ph.D students a faculty member can guide at a given time, which has become a bone of contention between the students and the university administration.

The notification was adopted by the University during its 142nd Academic Council meet on December 26 amid protests from several council members.

The students argued that the UGC notification “threatens to put their future in jeopardy” as they would not be able to find a supervisor due to the clauses prescribed in the notification.

The ramifications of the notification would extend beyond existing students and would also mean that very few admissions in the current academic session would take place for aspiring research scholars, thereby violating norms of mandated reservation norms, the students said.

During the hearing, the petitioners — both existing and prospective students, who had moved the high court — agreed to undertake that they are not challenging the UGC notification and restricting their case to “procedural lapses” on JNU’s part in adopting the notification.

The students’ counsel said that the University did not include their representative in the meetings held to discuss the implementation of the notification.

The court now posted the case for further hearing on March 14 after JNU said the students have not made UGC a party in the case.

As a protest, the students have been “occupying” the Administrative Block of the university since February 9 despite requests to end the protest.

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