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HC dismisses JNU students’ plea on UGC notification

New Delhi,  (IANS): The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed a plea against the procedure followed by the JNU to implement a UGC notification that a professor cannot guide more than three M.Phil and eight Ph.D research scholars at any given time.

Justice V.K. Rao refused to grant any relief to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students, saying the University Grants Commission’s regulations are “applicable and binding” on the university.

“The UGC in exercise of its powers under Section 26(1) (f) & (g) has framed Regulations of 2016 relating to minimum standards and procedure for the award of M.Phil/Ph.D degrees,” the court said.

“The said regulations are applicable/binding on the respondent university in view of the operation of provisions of the UGC Act, 1956. The Academic Council and Executive Council are necessarily to adopt the regulations in the university ordinance without any deviation,” ruled the court.

The court’s order came on plea of JNU students who contended that the UGC notification dated May 5, 2016, “threatens to put our future in jeopardy” as they would not be able to find research supervisors/guides due to the said notification.

The JNU authorities had also told the court that the notification was “binding” on the varsity and 43 central universities were already abiding by it.

The JNU said it will neither receive grants nor could award degrees if it stopped following the UGC regulations.

The notification was adopted by the university during its 142nd Academic Council meeting on December 26, 2016, amid protests from several council members.

The petitioner students argued that the notification’s ramifications will extend beyond existing researchers and lead to few admissions of research aspirants in the current academic session.

Both existing and prospective students, who moved the Delhi High Court, agreed to undertake that they were not challenging the UGC notification but restricting their case to “procedural lapses” on the JNU’s part in adopting the notification.

The students said the JNU did not include their representative in the meetings held to discuss the notification’s implementation.