All autonomous colleges with deemed-to-be university tag have ceased to be autonomous following a Supreme Court directive that such institutions offering technical and engineering courses should get sanction from the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
So far these deemed universities have been reporting to the University Grants Commission (UGC) and had full freedom in deciding on matters like introducing new courses or increasing seats or fee as there was no regulation on these.
The apex court's intervention follows a felt need to rein in unregulated authority of the deemed universities that used to take their own decisions on matters like increasing seats or starting a new course.
The Supreme Court had earlier invalidated engineering degrees obtained through correspondence courses from deemed universities in the past 16 years.
A bench of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit noted that the UGC and the AICTE did not approve distance learning programmes in engineering studies and the approval granted by the Distance Education Council (DEC) for such courses was illegal.
The UGC had since issued fresh guidelines to all deemed-to-be universities to abide by AICTE norms for technical and engineering education.
Some of these deemed-to-be universities have been found to be offering technical, engineering, architecture and pharmacy courses, without following AICTE rules.
A New Indian Express Report quoted AICTE chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe as saying, "UGC has issued fresh guidelines mandating AICTE approval from now on."
In the light of these developments, the Supreme Court has directed the UGC to monitor such institutions, following which UGC issued fresh guidelines mandating AICTE approval for all such deemed universities.
From now on such universities have to get sanction from the regulatory body for starting a new course or increasing seats or else their degrees will be suspended. Also, deemed universities offering on-line degrees will not be allowed to offer technical or engineering course through distance mode.
Deemed-to-be universities are different from engineering colleges or private universities in that they have the power to conduct their own examinations, frame their own syllabus and conduct admissions.