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Amity loses case against AICTE

The Allahabad High Court has dismissed a writ petition by Amity Business School contesting AICTE’s derecognition of the b school’s flagship PGDM course in September 2005.

AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) had observed that Amity was conducting “a large number of unapproved courses in the same premises, utilising the facilities and infrastructure intended for AICTE approved courses, thus diluting the standards of education. ” Amity had subsequently filed a civil petition in the Allahabad High Court challenging the AICTE order.

In dismissing the Amity petition the Allahabad High Court observed: “The finding has been returned that large number of unapproved courses are being run in the same premises utilizing the infrastructure, faculty and other facilities intended for the AICTE approved courses, and thus, diluting the standard of education. Original record has also been produced, and it reveals that representative of the petitioner has admitted that large number of unapproved courses are being run in the same campus.”

Documents submitted to the court show that on 5th August 2005, Smt. Balwinder Shukla, who is the Deputy Director General, Amity Business School, Noida certified that the report which has been prepared is based on factual information furnished by Institution and cross checked by the Committee through physical inspection.

“In column No. 10 of the Institutional Details, the question posed is whether the institution is sharing its facilities/premises with any other institution or running any unapproved programme and the same has been ticked as “yes” and coupled with this name of institution which is sharing the facility, has also been disclosed as :
(1) Amity University Raipur
(2) Amity University UP
(3) Centre for International Business
(4) Centre for CRM and Marketing
(5) Centre for E & S.

At the point of time when approval had been accorded in the year 1994, there was specific condition that no other courses would be run without the permission of the AICTE. Here, the other courses are being run in the same premises, which are unapproved without taking permission from the AICTE, and this fact has been admitted by the petitioners, and if this is not in dispute that in the same campus unapproved courses are being run, and the Expert Committee, on the basis of the same has concluded that standard of education is being diluted, then same cannot be termed to be arbitrary exercise of authority.”

Amity Business School had emphasised the fact that the AICTE report was not given to them, violating principles of natural justice. The court noted that grievance of the petitioners has to be decided in the light of the provisions of Section 11 of the AICTE Act, 1987.

“There is no obligation cast upon the Council to supply copy of the inspection report, rather to the contrary obligation is that the Council shall communicate to the technical institution its views in regard to result of any such inspection, and here gist of the report has been mentioned in the show cause notice and the same was replied by the petitioner and the said reply did not find favour, as such it is incorrect to suggest that cause of the petitioner was in any way prejudiced on account of non-supply of copy of inspection report, which had been prepared on the basis of material supplied by petitioner themselves.”

The court ruled that AICTE was well withing its rights in withdrawing approval. “Two courses were open to AICTE i.e. either to direct the petitioner to remove deficiencies or in the alternative withdraw affiliation. AICTE in its wisdom had chosen to withdraw recognition, as such its action being well within its bound, is not being interfered with“.

The only ray of hope for the students currently enrolled in the PGDM course is this final observation: ” However, in the facts of the present case, as recognition is limited only up to academic session 2005-06, and students are already pursuing their course on the strength of interim order passed by this Court, liberty is given to petitioner to represent the matter before AICTE after removing all the deficiencies, and it would be open to AICTE to take appropriate decision on the same, if it is satisfied that deficiencies mentioned have been removed, in accordance with law.”

Given the large number of courses Amity is running currently it remains to be seen how they will be able to ‘remove all deficiencies’ and convince AICTE to grant re-accreditation to the PGDM course. Further, the court’s last observation is that : “This liberty does not entitle the petitioner to run the course”. Hence the status of the current student certainly appears to be in jeopardy.

JAM magazine had earlier reported that 6 students of Amity Business School had taken Amity Business School to consumer court demanding refund of their fees after their PGDM course was derecognised. The court has advised Amity to settle the case by refunding the fees with interest at the time of next hearing scheduled for February 15th 2006 at the District Consumer Redressal Forum, Mehrauli, New Delhi.

Read the complete ‘Students sue Amity’ artiicle here: http://www.jammag.com/careers/articles/mbacorner/caramity/index2.php?id=1

The complete judgement by the Allahabad High Court can be downloaded from the AICTE website: http://www.aicte.ernet.in/download/AllahabadHigh.pdf

3 Feb 2006

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