The Supreme Court has suspended the Engineering degrees of thousands of graduates who pursued education through correspondence between 2001 to 2005 by JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Rajasthan (JRN), Institute of Advanced Studies in Education, Rajasthan (IASE) and Allahabad Agricultural Institute, Allahabad (AAI).
On Friday, The Apex Court gave an important decision on technical education, which will affect millions of students across India. Getting an Engineering degree the distance learning mode would no longer be possible as the Supreme Court ruled that that technical education could not be provided through distance learning or correspondence courses.
A bench of Justices A.K. Goel and U.U. Lalit, suspended engineering degrees granted to all graduates between 2001 and 2005 through distance learning by JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Rajasthan (JRN), Rajasthan; Institute of Advanced Studies in Education, Rajasthan (IASE), Rajasthan; Allahabad Agricultural Institute, Allahabad; and Vinayak Mission Research Foundation (VMRF), Tamil Nadu. None of these Universities had taken any prior permission from the University Grants Commission (UGC), AICTE and Distance Education Council (DEC).
however, they allowed students of the 2001-05 batch to get their degree by appearing in the examination to be conducted under the joint supervision of AICTE-UGC but it canceled the degrees of students of subsequent batches as the deemed university had not got approval from authorities for the course. It further added that “every single advantage” on the basis of these degrees would also stand suspended till then.
Also, Court has directed the UGC to take appropriate steps and implement Section 23 of the UGC Act and restrain deemed universities from using the word “university” within a month. The court asked the All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) to conduct appropriate written and practical tests for the students and expenses towards conducting the tests would be recovered from the universities concerned.
The students would get only two chances to clear the exam, failing which their degrees will stand recalled and canceled. Further, if a student does not wish to appear in such tests, the Court directed refund of the money deposited by them towards tuition and other charges. The students have been given time until 15 January to exercise the option to take the tests.
However, the entire amount paid by such students to the concerned universities towards tuition fees and other charges for engineering degrees shall be returned by the concerned deemed to be universities by May 31, 2018.
Earlier, the Madras High Court had said, a degree awarded in the distance education mode without a candidate passing the Class 12 examination was valid if it had been obtained after passing the entrance test for admission to the graduation course.
The apex court issued a series of directions likely to affect hundreds of institutes which have been offering technical courses through correspondence and distance learning. The bench set aside an Odisha High Court order allowing technical education through correspondence, and instead supported a Punjab and Haryana High Court ruling.
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