1. Heard Sri Anoop Trivedi learned Senior Advocate assisted by Sri Kunal Ravi Singh for the petitioner-appellant and Shri Pranjal Mehrotra appearing for All India Council for Technical Education(AICTE).
2. At this stage the prayer for interim relief in the special appeal is being pressed by the petitioner-appellant.
3. In the writ petition, the petitioner had challenged the order of AICTE dated 01.05.2019 by which the application for extension of approval of the courses run by Hindustan College of Science and Technology, Mathura(hereinafter referred to as “the Institution”) has been rejected. The relevant portion of the impugned order is reproduced below:
“1. Land documents in original are not presented and hence, not accepted.
2. Land shown available till 2015 is 29.415 acres in one piece as till that time these was no acceptability of land available in 2 pieces. But, the land available is actually in 2 pieces and land details are as per below:
(a) Piece of land on which buildings are constructed:
Land document No:997 Dated 09/04/97 land = 3.59/- aces Khassa No.355
Land document No:998 Dated 09/04/97 land = 3.59 aces Khassa No.356
Land document No:1291 Dated 09/04/97 land =3.59 aces Khassa No.357
Total Land 80975 aces
(Apart from above land a lease deed is also presented (of 7.69 acres) but in the previous years private lease was not acceptable).
a2) Piece of land available but there is no infrastructure for the Institute.
Land document No.3436 dated 22/12/95 land 3.502 hectares Khasra No.2961, total land 20.5735 acres.
Land document No.3436 dated 22/12/95 land 4.824 hectares khasra No.330, 331G, total land 20.5735 acres.
The lands mentioned in land details a1) and a2) are two pieces of land and are not connected. They are approximately 500-700m away from each other.
3. In view of above points it can be said that the institute provided false or manipulated information with regards of land available with them.
4. The building plans are also not accepted since:
a1) The institute only presented the site plan approved by the Zila Panchayat and all others building plans approved by Gram Panchayat. Even the site plan approved by Gram Panchayat for the buildings approved by Gram Panchayat is not presented. The site plan and building plans are shown approved inpendently are not acceptable.
5. Occupancy certificate is not accepted, since the building plans are not approved by Zila Panchayat but, the occupancy has been provided by Zila Panchayat.
6. Although apart from infrastructure presented in the report there are many empty and unused rooms shown are available but, in the absence of approved building plans the available rooms and their respective areas are not accepted.
7. The Institute did not provide any resolution for the land allocation to the available Institute on the same patch of land (Engg & MBA/MCA).
1. Computer Center available is of 20173 sqm against the requirement of 300 sqm
2. 66 labs available against the requirement of 75 labs
a. The available faculty is 131 against the requirement of 182 out of 131 available also 08 faculty member are not accepted.
b. The instruments available in the labs are not sufficient.
Recommendation of SAC was as under:
“Heard the representatives of Hindustan College of Science and Technology and perused the papers produced. It is claimed that total 7.6963 acres land was allotted by the trust to the college. It is not disputed that these lands were leased out to the trust by Smt. Seema Gupta & Bhawna Gupta initially for a period of 33 yrs. and the said period was further extended to 2049. Those lease deeds were not registered. Hence, according to the provisions of transfer of property Act they are invalid deeds. Accordingly, neither the trust nor the college in question came into possession/occupation of the aforesaid land. In absence of valid deed relating to land, the trust/the college have no land. In such situation this committee need not consider the other deficiencies noted on the previous pages.
In the above circumstance, this committee recommends “Withdrawal of Approval” of the college.”
8. In view of the above, the compliance submitted by the institute was considered as per rules. In view of the record and the deficiency as above pointed out by the Standing Appellate Committee (SAC) Chaired by a Retired Justice in accordance with the Rule 13.7 of Appendix 13 of APIIB 2019-20 and in compliance with the judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of MAA Vaishno Devi as reported in (2013) 2 SCC 617 at para 54 and Parshwanath case reported in (2013) 3 SCC 385 para 28 which explicitly states “compliance with the conditions for approved as well as Regulations and provisions of the AICTE Act is an unexceptional condition”, which aim to ensure for attaining and maintaining of competitive, recognized global standard in Technical Education. It is undeniably essential to ensure strict adherence to the prescribed parameters for imparting of such educational courses including the requisite infrastructure, which is ultimately aimed at protecting the vital interests of our students.
9. Therefore, after examining the entire matter in the facts and circumstances mentioned herein above, and in terms of the provisions of the Approval Process and Hand Book, 2019-20. Council has decided to place Hindustan College of Science & Technology NH2, Agra Delhi Highway, Farah, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh – 28122 under “Withdrawal of Approval” from the 2019-20.
10. It must be further noted that clause 6.9 of the Regulations 2018 prohibits grant of any conditional approval and clause 2.24 of Chapter II of the Approval Process Handbook 2019-20, read with clause 15 of Regulations 2018 mandate extension of approval for the academic year 2019-20 shall not be granted after 30th April 2019, in compliance with the order of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India dated 13.12.2012 (Civil No. 9048/2012).
11. Liability if any on this count, shall be the sole responsibility of the applicant Society/Trust and shall be settled as per the rules and regulations, as applicable.
12. This has the approval of the competent authority.”
4. A perusal of the reason assigned in the impugned order shows that the building of the petitioner has been constructed over Khasra Nos. 355, 356 and 357. In paragraph 19 of the short counter affidavit, the land details owned by the petitioner-appellant has been mentioned on plot No.299 Kha, area 3.500 hectare, Khasra No.330 area 1.344 hectare, Khasra No.331 area 0.531 hectare and Khasra No.332 area 2.949 hectare. The reason for passing the impugned order as assigned in the order has been mentioned as lease deed were unregistered.
5. The argument of the counsel for the petitioner-appellant is that so far as the sale deed are concerned, these are registered documents and the original documents were mortgaged with the bank and before the Appellate Committee the bank finally has produced the original documents, therefore, there is no dispute relating to validity of the sale deeds. So far as the land of the institution acquired on lease is concerned, it was additional land even if this land is not taken into consideration then also the matter relating to the approval is not prejudicial in any manner.
6. Thus the impugned order has been passed on irrelevant consideration in the arbitrary manner. He further submits that the Institution of the petitioner is running since 1996-97 and about 1737 students are studying in the Institution. Apart from the students, there are teaching and non-teaching staff which is more than 300. The impugned order will cause grave irreparable loss to the students as well as the persons employed in the Institution.
7. Learned counsel for the respondents however, submits that although the sale deed were of the year 1995 but building has been constructed without any information to the All India Council for Technical Education. He further submits that Supreme Court in judgment of Parshwanath Charitable Trust vs. All India Council for Technical Education, (2013) 3 SCC 385 has fixed a time schedule. Now, according to the time schedule, the appr
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oval has to be granted before 30th April of the year and after 30th April of the year no approval can be granted. 8. So far as the allegations in respect of construction of the building is concerned, no such reason in this respect has been mentioned in the impugned order. Even after 1996 the petitioner was granted approval regularly upto 2018-19. So far as the judgment of the Supreme Court is concerned, it is a direction to all concerned to adhere to the time schedule in respect of granting approval to the Institutions but there is no such direction that the illegalities cannot be cured by the higher court by passing the order. 9. In the fact of the case, the application for interim relief is allowed and operation of the orders dated 01.05.2019 and 10.05.2019 shall remain stayed. 10. The petitioner shall be permitted to continue with the counselling for admission of the students in the current academic year.