Appeal (civil) 2056
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
BHARATHIDASAN UNIVERSITY & ANR.
ALL INDIA COUNCIL FOR TECHNICAL EDUCATION & ORS.
DATE OF JUDGMENT:
S. Rajendra Babu & Doraiswamy Raju.
The only and important question of law that arises for
consideration in this appeal is as to whether the appellant-University created under the Bharathidasan University Act, 1981 [hereinafter referred to as the University Act] having its area of operation over the Districts of Tiruchirappalli, Thanjavur and Pudukkottai in the State of Tamil Nadu, should seek prior approval of the All India Council for the Technical Education [hereinafter referred to as AICTE] to start a department for imparting a course or programme in technical
education or a technical institution as an adjunct to the University itself to conduct technical courses of its choice and selection. The Bharathidasan University Act, 1981 created the University in question to provide, among other things, for instruction and training in such branches of learning as it may determine; to provide for research and for the advancement and dissemination of knowledge; to institute degrees, titles, diplomas and other academic distinctions; to hold examinations and to confer degrees, titles, diplomas and other academic distinctions on persons who have pursued an approved course of study in a University college or laboratory or in an affiliated or approved college and have passed the prescribed examinations of the University; to confer honorary degrees or other academic distinction under conditions prescribed; and to institute, maintain and manage institutes of research, University colleges and laboratories, libraries, museums and other institutions necessary to carry out the objects of the University, etc.
In other words, it is a full-fledged
University recognized by the University Grants Commission also. When the appellant-University commenced courses in
technology such as Information Technology & Management, BioEngineering & Technology, Petrochemical Engineering & Technology, Pharmaceutical Engineering and Technology, etc., the AICTE filed a Writ Petition No.14558 of 1998 before the Madras High Court seeking for a writ of mandamus to forebear the University authorities from running/conducting any courses and programmes in those technical courses. The sum and substance of the grievance as well as the objection put forward was that the University did not apply for and secure the prior approval for those courses before their commencement by the University as envisaged under the All India
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SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Council for Technical Education Act, 1987 [hereinafter referred to as the AICTE Act] and the statutory regulations made thereunder by the AICTE, particularly Regulation No.4, which obligated even an University to obtain such prior approval. The stand of the appellantUniversity was, as it is now before us, that the appellant-University will not fall under the definition of Technical Institution as defined under Section 2(h) of the AICTE Act and consequently, the
regulations made for seeking prior approval of the AICTE even by the Universities to commence a course or programme in technical
education or a new department for the purpose, were in excess of the regulation-making powers of the AICTE and consequently, are null and void and cannot be enforced against the appellant-University to the extent it obligates even Universities to seek and secure such prior approval from the AICTE.
The learned Single Judge has chosen to accept the stand of
the AICTE by applying and following the ratio of the decision of a Full Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court reported in M. Sambasiva Rao alias Sambaiah & Ors. Vs. Osmania University, Hyderabad
rep. By its Registrar & Ors. [1997(1) Andhra Law Times 629] and as a...