Deemed varsities question jurisdiction of State panel

The High Court of Karnataka on Thursday ordered issue of notices to the State government on petitions filed by some of the deemed universities questioning the jurisdiction of State’s Fee Regulatory Committee to fix fees for the medical, dental and engineering institutes coming under the deemed universities.

A Division Bench, comprising Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice Mohammad Nawaz, passed the order on the petitions filed by four deemed universities: JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research, Mysuru; NITTE, Mangaluru; Devaraj Urs Academy of Health Sciences, Kolar, and Yenepoya, Mangaluru.

The petitioners have contended that deemed universities come under the jurisdiction of University Grants Commission (UGC), and not under the State government and hence the provisions of the Karnataka Professional Educational institution (Regulations of admission and Determination of Fee) Act, 2006 are not applicable to the petitioner-universities.

Stating that the Supreme Court had declared that deemed universities have an all-India character and therefore the counselling procedure was to be held by Directorate General of Health Sciences and not by the body authorised by the State government, the petitioner claimed that this ruling clearly indicates that the deemed universities do not come under the scope of the State.

Claiming that the petitioner-universities had constituted fee fixation committees as per the norms laid down by the UGC, it has been pointed out in the petition that the SC this June directed the UGC and the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development to constitute a fee fixation committee for all deemed universities across the country as per a direction issued by the Madras High Court.

Questioning the fee fixed by the State’s Fee Fixation Committee, the petitioner-universities have also sought a declaration from the Court that provisions, relating fee fixation and fee regulatory committee in the 2006 Act of Karnataka are not applicable to the deemed universities.

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