Source: Khaitan & Co.
In a landmark judgement passed on 25 April 2013, the Supreme Court of India (Supreme Court) has held that vis-à-vis universities, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has only an advisory role and cannot issue any sanctions on universities and colleges affiliated to universities.
The Supreme Court in this far reaching judgement has also ruled that affiliated colleges (i.e. standalone colleges which are affiliated to universities) are regulated by the universities to which they are affiliated and are not required to obtain permission from the AICTE to run any technical course as they would be within the regulatory purview of the universities to which these colleges are affiliated.
Analysing prior judgements, the Supreme Court went on to hold that qua a university, the role of the AICTE is merely advisory and accordingly it may only provide guidance and advice to the University Grants Commission and universities in respect of technical courses conducted by such universities and that it does not have any regulatory authority over such courses. The Supreme Court further observed that while Master of Computer Applications is a technical course, the role of the AICTE in respect of such course being offered by a university or its affiliated colleges is merely advisory in nature.
The Supreme Court has also held that MBA is not a technical course and hence, would not be regulated by AICTE in any manner whatsoever.
The judgement has created ripples in the regulatory circle as the AICTE has been rendered a body without any regulatory powers. The AICTE is contemplating filing a review petition against this judgement. Regulators are of the view that such a judgement would lead to the mushrooming of engineering colleges all over the country and they would all go unregulated.