Deprivation points cannot be awarded to students for admission as the Delhi High Court believes it is “legally impermissible” for JNU to formulate its own admission policy against the UGC Act and rules. The UGC had, on July 5, 2016, notified the UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award for MPhil/PhD degree) Regulation, 2016. While the university was earlier providing deprivation points to students in the admission policy, it had implemented the new UGC rules, which, besides other rules, did not stipulate any deprivation points. The JNU students then moved the High Court saying the university was established with the aim of facilitating the participation of students and teachers from across the country in academic programmes. JNU was guided by principles of social justice. Both the courses, MPhil and PhD, were unique and aimed at inculcating academic discipline and excellence in research. The implementation of the rules would not only reduce seats, but also “make it impossible” for marginalised students to get admission, they said.
Counsel for the students Arvind K Nigam said the relevant provisions of the UGC rules provided autonomy to the university, and that every university was required to formulate its own admission policy according to its laws. The rules provided only a framework to guide the admission policy, he added.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta,however, said all regulations were binding and not dependent on being adopted by the university. “The Academic and Executive Councils are necessarily to adopt the regulations in the university ordinance without any deviation,” the court said.
Meanwhile, the university submitted a counter-affidavit buttressing the ASGs arguments. The rules were binding, it said, and non-compliance might result in refusal in grant. The students could not decide/deliberate on the admission process. Highlighting the case of 2009 batch students, the submission said, “…when the gazette notification of 2009 was not implemented in toto, compliance certificate to the students were not issued…their applications for employment are being rejected as their degrees are not UGC -2009 compliant.”
Counsel for the university Monika Arora also said JNU was known for its “harmonious integration” of the UGC rules into the JNU Act. Justice V Kameswar Rao said the UGC Act, 1956, enacted by the parliament would supersede the JNU Act,1966. He also said the plea was unconstitiuonal and in contravention to the UGC Act and established legal principles. If allowed, the plea would have “wide ramifications across all universities”.