National Law School of India University Cannot Conduct Exams in Examination Centers Outside State: Karnataka HC Upholds UGC Directions
19th May 2021, Karnataka HC disposed of the petition filed by The National Law School of India University in “The National Law School of India University v. The University Grants Commission [WP 63550/2016]” to set aside directions given by UGC to restrict the conduct of examination by said University outside the State of its establishment. The court upheld the validity of such directions and also of University Grants Commission (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations, 2017 which were passed after filing of the petition, and Petitioner University had prayed the quashing of the same.
The Single Judge Bench of Honorable Justice R Devdas left it to the university to approach the UGC seeking a declaration of Deemed to be University status, in terms of the University Grants Commission (Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2017 if it wanted to exercise its function in other states. UGC had issued directions on 19.07.2016 and 06.10.2016 to the university to not conduct examinations in examination centers (in cities of New Delhi, Kolkata, Pune) which are beyond the territories of the State where the university is established.
The Regulations 2017 curtail the physical jurisdiction of universities in the matter of open and distance learning education. In the matter of distance education by a university incorporated or established by or under a State Act shall not operate beyond the territory of the State in which it is incorporated. The same was incorporated based on Apex Court judgment of “Prof. Yashpal and Another Vs. State of Chhattisgarh and Others, (2005) 5 SCC 420”
Court held that “State Government has been only a facilitator in granting the Deemed University status to the petitioner-University, through the enactment. In the opinion of this Court, that by itself, will not permit the petitioner-University to contend that it was not established by the State Act.” and therefore petitioner university being University incorporated by the State Act, was under the regulations of UGC in the matter of both physical and distance education. Any Degree awarded in violation of Regulation-II of the UGC Regulations makes it void. Therefore, as per UGC directions, the said university cannot conduct exams in centers outside of Karnataka.
Also, as UGC has come up with the UGC (Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2017, which provides a distinct category of Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities, which have the benefit of establishing Off-campus centers and Offshore campus across India. The court opined that the petitioner University is free to make an application seeking a declaration as Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities if it wants to continue its functions outside the State of Karnataka.
Vaibhav Karadale | Research Intern | EduLegaL