Shaji P. Chaly, J.1. The captioned writ appeals, except the last two writ appeals, are filed by the writ petitioners in W.P.(C) Nos. 11778, 12338, 12345, 12347, 12565, 12659, 12709, 12865, 12933, 13134, 13141, 13252, 13337, 13457, 13558, and 13743 of 2020 challenging the common judgment of the learned single Judge dated 06.08.2020. Whereas, W.A. Nos. 1115 and 1127 of 2020 are filed by the writ petitioners challenging the common judgement of the learned single Judge in W.P. (C) Nos. 12314 and 13563 of 2020 dated 17.08.2020. The learned single Judge disposed of all the writ petitions with certain directions to the A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technological University, Thiruvananthapuram in order to consider the applications submitted by the appellants seeking affiliation for commencement of additional courses in the existing institutions conducting B. Tech programme in various disciplines on account of the approval secured by such colleges from the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). According to the appellants, the directions issued by the learned single Judge on the basis of the decision of the syndicate taken on 24.06.2020 revising the norms stipulated in the order dated 10.06.2020 is bad, for want of power to the Syndicate to take decision on 10.06.2020 and 24-06- 2020 in accordance with the provisions of the A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technological University Act, 2015 ('the Act, 2015' for short), since there was no first statute in force on 10.06.2020 empowering the Syndicate of the University to take a decision, and therefore the Vice Chancellor alone had power to take the decision by virtue of Section 14(6) of the Act, 2015. Furthermore, it is the common contention of all the appellants that the first statute was introduced by the State Government after the cut-off date fixed for grant of affiliation on 30.06.2020. Other contentions raised by the appellants are also common in nature relying upon the All India Council for Technical Education Act, 1987 (hereinafter called 'AICTE Act, 1987'), All India Council for Technical Education (Grant of Approvals for Technical Institutions) Regulations, 2020 (hereinafter called 'Regulations, 2020') and the Approval Process Hand Book issued by the AICTE for the period 2020-2021. Since the issues are common in nature, by agreement of all the counsel in the appeals, we have heard them together and propose to dispose of the appeals by a common judgment. At the outset, it is made clear that the documents relied upon by the parties will be referred to on the basis of the details of such documents, instead of referring to them as exhibits, since the orders/decisions assailed by the appellants are common in nature in all respects. In disposing of the appeals, we rely upon the pleadings and documents in Writ Appeal No. 1073 of 2020 filed against the judgment in W.P.(C) No. 12709 of 2020 so as to have an overall understanding of the contentions raised by the parties in common. The material difference in the narration of facts in the other writ appeals are only in respect of the courses in the programme, to which the additional courses were applied for by the appellant institutions, but such intrinsic details are not much significant to decide the issues in the appeals. However, such details are available in the judgment of the learned Single Judge .2. Appellant in the relied upon writ appeal is Jai Bharath College of Management and Engineering Technology, which is an institute imparting education in B. Tech courses. The institution has to maintain 300 seats in different branches of Engineering to avoid the requirement of accreditation from the National Board of Accreditation (NBA). Since the institution was having only 240 seats in undergraduate level, it has applied for an emerging course, which according to the institution, is an innovative one namely “Artificial Intelligence and Data Science” for the academic year 2020-2021 with the AICTE, as well as the A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technological University, seeking the approval and the affiliation respectively. The institution has also requested the Kerala State Government to issue a 'No Objection Certificate' (NOC) for the additional courses, as well as to the University, in order to satisfy the requirements in terms of the laws of the AICTE. The application given by the institution for the additional course has been processed by the AICTE, irrespective of the fact that the Kerala State Government had issued a letter to the AICTE that the additional courses should be granted only for those institutions with NBA accreditation and that, the previous years intake shall be 50%. However, rejecting those stipulations contained in the NOC issued by the State Government, AICTE granted approval for the additional course as specified above.3. The case put forth by the appellant is that once AICTE granted approval, the responsibility remaining with the University was consideration of the application submitted by the appellant in accordance with the University Act, 2015 and its attendant laws in vogue, at the time of consideration of the application seeking affiliation. According to the appellant, the affiliation fee as requisite under law was paid by the appellant and therefore, the University was bound to process the application for affiliation. Therefore, basically the contentious issue raised by the appellant in the writ petition was the failure on the part of the University to consider the application, and consequently appropriate directions were sought for consideration of the application, after quashing the order of the State Government dated 22.06.2019, whereby the Government has fixed certain criteria in the NOC issued, as specified below for commencing new undergraduate/post graduate courses in any institutions, that is (1) the programmes in the institutions should have NBA accreditation (2) the admission in the previous years should be more than 50% of their sanctioned intake and (3) the courses sought to be started should be innovative and should have the approval of AICTE. Such a contention was raised by the appellant since, according to the appellant, the stand adopted by the Government as specified above is violative of the Approval Process Hand Book, and also that the said order was applicable only for the academic year 2019-2020. In that process of considering the application, the appellant has also sought for quashing the order issued by the University bearing UO No. 842/2020/KTU dated 10.06.2020, which order reads thus:(Bracketed portion added for convenience)“Vide paper read as (1) above (minutes of the 7th meeting of the Academic Council held on 19.12.2019, item No. 007.2.04), proposal was placed before the Academic Council for framing a policy to start new UG/PG courses by colleges affiliated to the University, considering the request made by the Indira Gandhi Charitable Trust to start M. Tech in Structural Engineering in Civil Engineering Department in Rajadhani Institute of Engineering and Technology during 2020-21. The Academic Council recommended norms for recording affiliation to new programmes and based on the academic Council decision, University Order read as (2) was issued, (UO No. 100/2020/KTU dated 17.01.2020.)The recommendations of the Academic Council was placed before the 11th meeting of the Syndicate for approval.The Syndicate vide paper read as (3) (minutes of the 11th meeting of the syndicate held on 04.02.2020 in item No. S-011-006) deliberated on the matter and resolved to fix the following norms for granting affiliation to new programmes as noted below:(1) at least one of the existing programmes should be NBA accredited. In case of PG programmes, the concerned UG programme(s) should have NBA accreditation.(2) the average annual intake in the institution for the previous three years, should be more than 50% of the sanctioned intake.(3) the proposed programme should have AICTE approval and NOC from the Government.(4) the proposed programme should have industry demand/ employment potential.It has also been resolved to grant NOC for closure of the existing programmes/reduction of intake upon institutional requests. The University order read (2) stands modified to the above extent. Orders are issued accordingly.”4. Therefore, to be more specific, the appellant sought for a direction to the University to consider the application seeking affiliation for an additional course in B. Tech Artificial Intelligence and Data Science without insisting on the stipulations contained in the order specified above. It is significant to note that it was the predominant contention of the appellant in the writ petition that the syndicate is not empowered under the statute to take such a decision for granting approval, since as per Section 63(2) of the University Act, 2015, for extension of affiliation with additional courses, the procedure has to be prescribed in the University Statute, but there was no statute in force at the relevant point of time. The said legal position is not disputed by the University. Therefore, the contention advanced was that since no first statute has been framed by the State Government as provided under Section 43 of the University Act, 2015, there was no enabling power to the Syndicate to take the decision in question leading to the order of the university dated 10-06-2020, consequent to which the syndicate decision is lacking authority and accordingly, the decision and order are bad and illegal. However, fact remains, the Syndicate of the University, as per decision dated 24.06.2020, revised the norms stipulated in the order dated 10.06.2020 as follows:“Item No. S-013-014 Any Other Matter OA1:Sub Committee report on affiliation request by colleges for granting new courses/programmes, not shortlisted by previous syndicate subcommittee.The syndicate examined the list of colleges which had applied for new courses/programme but with no NBA accreditation. It is stated that AICTE has given approval for colleges without NBA accreditation to start new courses/programmes, if the total seats requested for new courses falls within their total approved intake. After a detailed discussion the syndicate resolved to adopt the following criteria for granting affiliation to the new courses/programmes in colleges without NBA accreditation as(i) The institution should have more than 50% pass for the outgoing students at the time of application for affiliation.(ii) The institution should have most recent academic audit overall score of ‘GOOD’.(iii) The institution should have 3 years average intake of more than 50% sanctioned intake.Since these institutions are having no NBA accreditation, the syndicate resolved to adopt the above criteria in order to ensure the quality of teaching-learning process of the institution, academic standards as reflected in the academic auditing exercise and perception about the institution. Prof. P.O.J Lebba expressed his dissent on this decision and opined that affiliation may be given to all institutions as per AICTE guidelines. Syndicate noted his dissent and resolved to proceed with the above stated criteria for the selection of the colleges for starting new courses/programmes. However, for the selected colleges, only one course will be granted affiliation this year upon evaluation of the merit of the institution/expertise/infrastructure etc.Higher education secretary Dr. Usha Titus informed that the date of application for affiliation has been extended for various other Universities in the wake of COVID-19. Further since AICTE has also extended the last date of granting approval, it was resolved to extend the date for filing of affiliation for one week and approve requests for new courses/programs fulfilling the approved criteria.The syndicate resolved to accept the recommendation of the subcommittee to conduct physical EVC to the request for 2 new institutions of Hotel Management with AICTE approval and ensure no deficiency before giving affiliation.”It is relevant to note at this juncture that, in the earlier order dated 10-06- 2020 the conditions were delineated only for starting new programmes whereas in the decision of the Syndicate dated 24- 06 2020 the term “courses” was added as if to appear that the conditions for NOC would apply to courses also apart from the Programmes, as was contemplated in the order dated 10-06-2020,among other variations therefrom . It is also relevant to state here that the issues attained a different shape and dimension due to the stand adopted by the University that the approval granted by the AICTE was not in accordance with the mandatory procedures contemplated for the same, therefore bad, and the University is not bound by it , which is well reflected in the counter affidavit and statement filed by the University discussed hereafter .5. The University, in its counter affidavit, apart from refuting the allegations of the appellant submitted that the appellant has secured the approval from the AICTE without complying with the procedures of the Approval Process Hand Book, 2020-21 and hence, the University was not bound to grand affiliation. It was also submitted that to get affiliation from the University, the appellant had to satisfy the norms fixed by the University for granting affiliation and merely because the AICTE has granted approval, University is not liable to grant affiliation, that the University did not open its official portal enabling the appellant to remit the inspection fee,and that the AICTE has issued the approval order without following the procedures contemplated in the Hand Book, and without physically verifying the records and premises of the appellant institution. That apart, it was stated that the University has not granted sanction to the appellant to reduce one course to the appellant institution. It was also specifically contended that the stand adopted by the University in the order dated 10.06.2020 fixing norms for granting affiliation for additional/new courses in the institution is in accordance with law and there is no basis for the allegation that if the institution reduces the number of course, then it is entitled to secure additional courses without NBA Accreditation, and further that unilateral reduction of any course, if any, made by the appellant will not enable them to get affiliation for additional/new courses, apart from contending that course having NBA Accreditation is a mandatory requirement to get affiliation to the new courses. It was further submitted that the Syndicate of the University, in its meeting held on 25.06.2020, decided to fix higher norms for granting additional course to the institutions, which does not have NBA Accreditation and that the National Institutional Ranking Frame (NIRF) has laid down parameters for technical institutions to improve itself and as per the parameters laid down by the NIRF, the student intake in each institute is an index to consider and evaluate the ratio of the institution excellence in the field. It was also pointed out that the University granted affiliation for additional courses to all the institutions, which had NBA Accreditation and it was only in the case of those institutions which does not have NBA Accreditation, the University has laid down the norms. After traversing through the AICTE regulations and the Approval Process Hand Book issued by the AICTE, which are discussed hereafter, it was contended that the norms fixed by the University is not against the stipulations contained in such statutes/guidelines. It was also the submission of the University that NOC from the University for granting additional courses is a mandatory requirement, even going by the conditions prescribed by the AICTE and that, even though the last date fixed by the AICTE to the University for grant of NOC was 30.06.2020, the Supreme Court granted extension of time to the University for considering the issue of grant of NOC upto 15.07.2020. Therefore, it was submitted that the University will consider the question of grant of NOC to the eligible institutions which satisfies the norms laid down by the University.6. The State Government has also filed a detailed statement refuting the allegations made by the appellant and justifying the stand adopted in the matter of NOC issued stipulating conditions. It has also produced documents in relation to the allotment details of the students provided to the institutions by the Commissioner for Entrance Examinations during 2018-19 to canvass that there is continuous low admission rate in the appellant institution and other similarly situated institutions, and to allegedly prove that such institutions are totally discarded by the public. Apart from the same, it was pointed out that the study conducted by the academic experts in the engineering field reported to the Government that the low rate of admission in certain institutions make such institutions financially unviable and consequently, they compromise on faculty and infrastructure, which in turn, undermines the already depleted standards of education in such institutions. Therefore, the public interest demands that such institutions cannot be allowed to experiment by sanctioning new courses. The sum and substance of the contentions put forth by the Government was that it was in the above backdrop that the Government in public interest decided that new courses shall be granted in existing Engineering Colleges only if they satisfy the conditions stipulated in the NOC given.7. The AICTE has filed a statement basically submitting that the appellant was granted first approval for conducting B. Tech course in the year 2009 and extension of approval was also granted upto the year 2019, that the institute had applied for a new course 'Artificial Intelligence and Data Science' for the academic year 2020-2021 and pursuant to the same, it processed the application as per clause 2.15.4 of the Approval Process Hand Book, 2020-2021 and granted approval for the additional course. Similar were the submissions in all writ petitions.8. The University, State as well as the AICTE have basically raised typical contentions to the contentious issues in their respective counter affidavits/statements applying to all the writ petitions and adoption memos were also filed to adopt the same to the other writ petitions. It was accordingly that the learned single Judge has disposed of the writ petitions with the following orders/ directions:“1. Order passed by the Government on 22.06.2019 is set aside;2. in view of the decision of the syndicate on 24.06.2020 in Ext.R2(f), revising the norms stipulated in the order dated 10.06.2020, specifically stating its applicability to programmes as well as courses, it is not necessary to go into the validity of order dated 10.06.2020;3. however the norms fixed in Ext.R2(f) require reconsideration; there shall be a direction to the University to take a decision afresh on the question of affiliation of the new/additional courses/programme taking note of the recommendation in Annexure I and clause 7 of Annexure 14 of the Approval Process Handbook, as well as the clarification letter issued by the AICTE on 26.02.2020 (produced as Ext.P1 in W.P.(C) No. 13558 of 2020) also, within a period of two weeks and pass an order incorporating the decision;4. University shall thereafter pass orders on the applications submitted for affiliation; in the event of rejection they shall be informed of the reasons thereof;5. In case affiliation is denied to any of the petitioners for want of NOC from the Government alone, the University shall issue orders granting affiliation;6. In case affiliation is denied for the only reason that NOC was not issued prior to submission of application for approval, the University shall pass orders on the applications submitted/to be submitted for NOC on merits and issue NOC, in case there is no legal impediment, and pass orders on affiliation without any further delay; in case applications for closure are pending that shall also be finalised.”9. We have heard learned Senior counsel Sri. Kurian George Kannanthanam assisted by Adv. Sri. P.M.Saneer, Adv. Sri. S. Krishnamoorthy, Adv. Sri. Santhosh Mathew, Adv. Sri. K. Adbul Jawad and other learned counsel appeared in other appeals and Adv. Sri. Elvin Peter, learned counsel for the University, learned Special Government Pleader Sri. M.A. Asif for the State and Adv. V. Sajith Kumar for AICTE, and perused the pleadings and documents on record including the ones produced during the course of arguments, as also the written submissions made by the learned counsel on either side, which are all made part of the record .10. The discussion made above would make it clear that the paramount and predominant contention advanced by the learned counsel for the appellants was that the Syndicate of the University did not have any power to take the decisions on 10.06.2020 and 24.06.2020 prescribing the norms and standards for grant of affiliation to the institutions seeking additional courses by virtue of the provisions contained under the University Act, 2015. Learned Senior counsel, Sri. Kurian George Kannanthanam, has invited our attention to Section 63 of the University Act, 2015, dealing with continuation of affiliation, which reads thus:“63. Continuation of Affiliation.-(1) The affiliated college or recognised institution may apply for continuation of affiliation or recognition for the courses of study for which affiliation or recognition was granted ordinarily six months prior to the date of expiry of such affiliation or recognition. The University shall follow the procedure prescribed in Statutes, for grant of continuation of affiliation.(2) The affiliated college or recognised institution may apply for affiliation or recognition for additional courses of study and the same shall be considered by the University following the procedures or rules prescribed in this regard in the Statutes.(3) An affiliated college with at least six years standing as an affiliated college may apply for permanent affiliation in the manner as may be prescribed in the Statutes and the University shall consider such applications in such manner as may be prescribed.”11. Relying upon sub-section (3) of section 63, it was submitted that an affiliated college with at least six years standing as an affiliated college has to apply for permanent affiliation in the manner as may be prescribed in the statutes (emphasis supplied) and the University shall consider such applications in such manner as may be prescribed, and therefore, as there was no statute at that point of time, enabling the Syndicate of the University to prescribe any conditions to deal with the application submitted by the institutions to secure affiliation for additional courses, the Syndicate did not have any power to take the decision culminating in the order of the University dated 10-06-2020 and the later decision dated 24-06-2020, which are extracted above. The said submission made by the appellants is virtually an admitted fact, since the statute was introduced by the State Government only during the first week of August, 2020 alone. Therefore, the question emerges for consideration is, in the absence of a statute, what was the provision available under law to consider such applications submitted by the institutions. In that regard learned Senior counsel has invited our attention to Section 25 of the University Act, 2015 dealing with powers, functions and duties of the Board of Governors, and the relevant portion to the context reads thus:“25. Powers, functions and duties of the Board of Governors. - (1) The Board of Governors shall be the supreme authority of the University and shall have the power to review the actions of the Executive Committee and the Academic Committee save where the Executive Committee or the Academic Committee has acted in accordance with the powers conferred upon it under this Act, the Statutes, the Ordinances or the Regulations, and shall also exercise all the powers of the University not otherwise provided for by this Act or the Statutes:Provided that if any question arises as to whether the Executive Committee or the Academic Committee has acted in accordance with such powers as aforesaid or not, the question shall be examined and decided by the Chancellor and his decision thereon shall be final.(2) Save as otherwise expressly provided in this Act, the Board of Governors shall have the following powers, namely:(i) to provide for instruction and research in such branches of engineering sciences, management and technology, and interdisciplinary areas related to them as the University may think fit, and for the advancement of learning and dissemination of knowledge in such branches;(ii) to provide for instruction and research in basic sciences and humanities in so far as it relates to the furtherance of knowledge in interdisciplinary areas;(iii) to make, amend or repeal Statutes either of its own motion or on the motion of the Executive Committee;(iv) to cancel or amend any Ordinance passed by the Executive Committee or any Regulation passed by the Academic Committee;(v) to approve and lay down norms and standards for affiliating colleges as regular colleges or autonomous colleges or constituent colleges or colleges with academic autonomy of the University;(emphasis supplied)(vi) to affiliate to itself institutions as constituent colleges or autonomous colleges or regular colleges or colleges with academic autonomy in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the Statutes, Ordinances and Regulations and to withdraw affiliation of colleges;”12. The sum and substance of the submission made, relying upon the said provision is that, though the Board of Governors is the supreme authority of the University having the power to review the actions of the executive committee and the academic committee, only where the executive committee or the academic committee has acted in accordance with the powers conferred upon it under the Act, the statutes, the ordinances or the Regulations and further to exercise all powers of the University not otherwise provided for by the Act or the statutes, and therefore in absentia of the statute, the Board of Governors did not enjoy the power to correct the decision taken by the Syndicate. It was also pointed out that by virtue of the saving clause contained under sub-Section(2) of Section 25, the Board of Governors shall exercise the power as per clause (i) to (vi) referred to above only if there is no provision under the Act, 2015. Therefore, the submission made by learned Senior counsel was that in the absence of the statute, as per Section 14, the Vice Chancellor alone is vested with powers and accordingly, the only authority that could have considered the applications for affiliation was the Vice Chancellor. In order to have a proper appreciation of the said argument, we deem it fit to extract the relevant portion of Section 14 of Act 2015 applicable to the context , which reads thus:“Powers of the Vice-Chancellor. - (1) The Vice-Chancellor shall be the principal academic and executive officer of the University. He shall be responsible for the development of academic programmes of the University. He shall oversee and monitor the administration of the academic programmes and general administration of the University to ensure efficiency and good order of the University.(2) The Vice-Chancellor shall have the power to convene meetings of any of the authorities, bodies or committees, as and when he considers that such meeting is necessary.(3) The Vice-Chancellor shall ensure that the directions issued by the Board of Governors are strictly complied with or implemented.(4) It shall be the duty of the Vice-Chancellor to ensure that the actions of the University are carried out in accordance with the provisions of this Act, Statutes, Ordinances and Regulations and that the decisions of the authorities, bodies and committees are not inconsistent with this Act, Statutes, Ordinances or Regulations.(5) If there are reasonable grounds for the Vice-Chancellor to believe that there is an emergency which requires immediate action to be taken, he shall, take such action as he thinks necessary, and shall, as soon as may be, report in writing, the grounds for the emergency and the action taken by him, to such authority or body which, in the ordinary course, would have dealt with the matter. In the event of a difference arising between the Vice-Chancellor and the authority, on the issue of existence of such an emergency, or on the action taken or on both, the matter shall be referred to the Chancellor whose decision shall be final.(6) Where any matter is required to be regulated by Statutes or Regulations but no Statutes or Regulations have been made in that behalf, the Vice- Chancellor shall, for the time being, regulate the matter by issuing such directions as the Vice-Chancellor thinks necessary, and shall, .as soon as may be, submit them before the Board of Governors or other authority or body concerned for approval.”13. Relying upon sub-section (6), it was submitted that, when the statute was not made either on 10.06.2020 or 24.06.2020, the Vice Chancellor alone had the power to regulate the matter by issuing such directions as the Vice Chancellor thinks it necessary and shall submit them before the Board of Governors for approval. Therefore, it is submitted that when such a specific power was conferred upon the Vice Chancellor, in the absence of a statute, the Vice Chancellor was the sole authority to make any recommendation to the Board of Governors in the matter of affiliation sought for by the appellants. It was, therefore, contended that the action of the Syndicate of the University taking the aforesaid decisions, and passing a consequential order dated 10-06-2020 cannot be sustained under law. The said legal position, and that there was no enabling statute on the crucial dates where the Syndicate has taken the decisions are virtually conceded by the University; however, the contention advanced by the learned counsel for the University is that consequent to the formation of the statute the orders so passed could be ratified. In that regard, learned counsel has invited our attention the following judgments of the Apex Court, 1) High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan v. P.P. Singh [(2003) 4 SC 239], 2) Punjab University v. V.N Tripathy and another [(2001) 8 SCC 179] and 3) Maharashtra State Mining Corporation v. Sunil [(2006) 5 SCC 96].14. It is true that ratification can be done, if it is an act of approval done by an incompetent authority which did not have the power at the appropriate time while taking a decision and granted with power subsequently. But, here is a case where under the Act, 2015, in the absence of a statute, the Vice Chancellor of the University was the appropriate authority to make recommendation to the Board of Governors for approval which is the superior authority of the University, as is empowered under Section 14 of the Act, 2015. Therefore, when an authority was vested with the power to act in accordance with law, such authority was overlooked and two vital decisions were taken by the Syndicate, a body incompetent to take any decision in the absence of the statute in contemplation of Section 63 of Act 2015. Therefore, we find much force in the contention advanced by the learned counsel for the appellants as above. The picture is also clear in that regard, since concededly the statute was introduced at a later point of time, to the decision in question. The qustion with respect to the power enjoyed by the Syndicate in the absence of a statute was considered by a Division Bench of this Court in the judgment in Writ Appeal No. 738 of 2018 dated 26.03.2018, an appeal filed by the A.P.J. AbDUL Kalam Technological University and after considering the provisions of the Sections 63(3) and 14(6) of the Act, 2015, it was held that a reading of the above provision shows that where any matter is required to be regulated by statutes or regulations, but no statutes or regulations have been made in that behalf, the Vice Chancellor shall, for the time being, regulate the matter by issuing such directions as the Vice Chancellor thinks necessary, and shall, as soon as may be, submit before the Board of Governors or other authority or body concerned for approval, and accordingly, the Vice Chancellor was directed to take appropriate decisions in the matter of permanent affiliation.15. So much so, even though a statute is introduced by the State Government, during 1st week of August 2020, and submitted that as per statute 93, power is allegedly conferred on the Syndicate, we disagree with the same, since the power conferred on the Syndicate in accordance with the relevant portion of the said statute in vernacular language with English translation produced before us during the hearing, exemplifies that power conferred on the Syndicate is only in relation to the matters relating to the granting of affiliation of a teaching course or any subject in a teaching course, conducted in any of the colleges which is not affiliated. Therefore, we are constrained to think that there was no power vested with the Syndicate to take any decision like the ones in question discussed and extracted above or to ratify the same.16. In that view of the matter, we have no hesitation to hold that the order passed by the University on the basis of the decision taken by the Syndicate, on 10.06.2020, and the decision dated 24.06.2020, extracted above, cannot be sustained under law, being ultra vires the Act, 2015, and also arbitrary and illegal having adverse implications under Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Needless to say, the decisions so taken are void in nature in all respects, and thereby the conditions imposed in the order passed by the University dated 10.06.2020 pursuant to the invalid decision are also equally bad. Which thus means, the conditions contained thereunder cannot be employed by the University, while considering the applications submitted by the institutions seeking affiliation to the respective additional courses. Normally, we would have stopped here and directed the University to take a decision in the applications submitted by the institutions, dehors the conditions and standards fixed in the order of the University dated 10.06.2020, and the decision of the Syndicate dated 24.06.2020. However, the University has contended before the learned single Judge that the approval granted by the AICTE to the institutions was not in accordance with the regulations of the AICTE for the year 2021,and the Approval Process Hand Book, 2020-2021; and accordingly the learned single Judge considered those issues also and arrived at the conclusions. Therefore, we propose to proceed to sort out the issues arising therefrom also.17. The AICTE Act, 1987 (‘the Act, 1987’ for short) was passed by the Houses of Parliament during the year 2017 to provide for the establishment of an All India Council for Technical Education with a view to the proper planning and co-ordinated development of the Technical Education System throughout the country, the promotion of qualitative improvement of such education in relation to planned quantitative growth and the regulation and proper maintenance of norms and standards in the Technical Education System and for matters connected therewith. By virtue of Section 2(f) of the Act, it is vested with powers to make Regulations. It was accordingly that the Regulations are made for grant of approvals for the Technical Institutions etc. from time to time. The Act, 1987 contemplates establishment of a Council for the functioning of the AICTE by including various technically qualified superior officials from different disciplines, and others, as is prescribed under Section 3 of Act, 1987.18 . Section 10 of Act, 1987 deals with the powers and functions of the council, by which it shall be the duty of the Council to take all such steps as it may think fit for ensuring co-ordinated and integrated development of Technical Education and maintenance of standards and for the purposes of performing its functions under the Act, and among others, as per clause (k), the Council is vested with powers to grant approval for starting new technical institutions and for introduction of the new courses or programmes in consultation with the agencies concerned. The council is also vested with powers to set up a National Board of Accreditation to periodically conduct evaluation of Technical Institutions or programmes on the basis of the guidelines, norms and standards specified by it and to make recommendation to it, or to the Council, or to the commission or to other bodies, regarding recognition or derecognition of the institution or the programme in accordance with the powers vested under clause (u) thereto. It is also vested with powers to conduct inspection under Section 11 of the Act, for ascertaining the financial needs of technical institutions or a University or its standards of teaching and examination research after providing notice of inspection, enabling the council to secure the presence of all concerned. Thereafter, the Council shall communicate to the Technical Institution or the University its views with regard to the results of any such inspections and may after ascertaining the opinion of the Technical Institution or University, recommend to that institution or University the action to be taken as a result of such inspection.19. It is by virtue of the powers conferred on the Council to make Regulations, it has issued the Regulations, 2020. As per regulation 1.2, the regulations are applicable for the applications submitted by the institutions/institutions deemed to be University offering/proposed to offer a Technical Programme at diploma/post diploma certificate/undergraduate degree/post graduate diploma/post graduate degree Level for the purpose delineated thereunder, which inter alia includes increase in intake/additional course(s) as per clause (l) thereto. Regulation 2.7 defines Approval Process Hand Book (APH) as a hand book published by the AICTE, prescribing norms and procedures for processing of applications submitted for grant of various approvals from time to time. ‘Approved intake’ is defined under Regulation 2.9, to mean the maximum number of students that can be admitted in a course (excluding the supernumerary seats) as approved by the council. ‘Course’ is defined under regulation 2.21, which means one of the branches of learning in a Programme, such as Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering etc. ‘Division’ is defined under regulation 2.22 to mean a) to be a batch maximum of sixty (60) seats in diploma/undergraduate degree courses in Engineering and Technology/Hotel Management and Catering Technology/Post Graduate Courses in MCA/PGCM/PGDM/MBA Programme, excluding supernumerary seats if any; etc.20. ‘Level’ is defined under Regulation 2.34, which means, diploma, post diploma certificate, undergraduate degree, postgraduate diploma and postgraduate degree programmes. Regulation 2.40 defines ‘programme’, which means the field of Technical Education, ie Engineering and Technology, Pharmacy, Architecture and Planning, Applied Arts, Crafts and Design, Hotel Management and Catering Technology, MCA, Management (PGCM/PGDM/MBA) and such other programmes/areas as notified by AICTE Act, 1987. Regulation 2.55 defines ‘total approved intake’, which includes intake approved in all the programme(s)/ course(s) of an institution. Regulation 3 deals with ‘relevance of grant of approval’ and 3.1.c specifies that after the commencement of these regulations, in no eventuality, a Technical Institution without prior approval of AICTE and affiliating University/Board concerned, shall be allowed to participate in the counselling and admission process to admit students.21. So much so, regulation 4.9 deals with requirements for the new/existing institutions/institutions deemed to be Universities conducting Technical Programmes. Clause (d) thereto requires that NOC from affiliating University/Board/State Government/UT shall be required as applicable for such applications as specified in the Approval Process Hand Book.22. Processing of the applications and grant of approval are dealt with under regulation 6, and regulation 6.1 states that the applications received shall be processed as per the norms and procedures specified in the Approval Process Hand Book as notified by the Council from time to time, in addition to the existing Central/State and Local Laws. Setting up of a new Technical Institution is guided by regulation 6.2; clause (a) thereto states that the State Government/UT and the affiliating University/Board shall forward their views on the applications received under clause 1.2.a of the Regulations to the concerned Regional Office, not later than one week from the last date of submission of application as notified. It is further specified that in the absence of the receipt of views from the State Government/UT/affiliating University/Board on the application, the Council shall proceed for further processing .(emphasis supplied).Regulation 6.3 is provided for the existing institutions; Clause (d) thereto stipulates that the application for the closure of the institution shall be valid for the duration of the respective programme offered by the institution within which the institution should submit the required mandatory documents. Else, AICTE may close the institution with the intimation to the affiliating University/Board and the State Government/UT shall issue a public notice regarding the same.(emphasis supplied);Clause (i) thereto is a very crucial regulation which specifies that the existing institutions having total “Approved Intake” equal to/less than the “Maximum Intake Allowed”/Institutions not eligible to apply for NBA Accreditation shall be permitted to increase (without NBA accreditation) in the same level in the same programme (diploma/undergraduate/MCA/Management upto to the “Maximum Intake Allowed” in each programme as that of a new technical institution, as per the Approval Process Hand Book, subject to “Zero Deficiency” based on self-disclosure on AICTE web-portal. These are the relevant regulations to be considered in the instant appeals.23. Now, we proceed to consider the relevant provisions of the Approval Process Hand Book, 2021. Paragraph 2.5 of the Hand Book deals with extension of approval based on self-disclosure. 2.5.1, dealing with requirements and eligibility, states that the institution seeking approval for extension of affiliation shall apply on AICTE webportal along with documents as per Appendix 17 of the Hand Book. Paragraph 2.5.2 lays down the procedure and sub- paragraph (b) specifies that the Council shall monitor for fulfilment of all norms by the institution and in the event of non-fulfilment, the Council shall initiate penal action as per the regulations. Paragraph 2.9.1 is with regard to requirements and eligibility and sub-paragraph (a) states that the existing institutions seeking approval to start new programme/level shall apply on AICTE web-portal along with the extension of approval for the existing programme(s) and course(s) with the additional documents as per Appendix 17 of the Approval Process Hand Book. However, the institutions shall be permitted to apply for the same only after one batch of students pass out. Paragraph 2.15 deals with increase in intake/additional course(s). Paragraph 2.15.1 specifies that the existing institutions shall expand its activities by the addition of new/additional course(s)/divisions, provided they have a valid National Board of Accreditation (NBA) in place for the following reasons:(a) Increased demand in certain domains as per the industrial need for technical personnel.(b) To increase the utilisation of infrastructure available at the Technical Institutions(c) Ensure quality of Technical Education being imparted.24. Paragraph 2.15.2 is with regard to requirements and eligibility and sub-paragraph (b) states that the institution applied for NBA Accreditation and awaiting for the results of the visit is also eligible to apply, but a valid NBA certificate shall be produced at the time of scrutiny. Sub paragraph (c) states that, increase in intake/additional course in undergraduate degree/post graduate degree level in Engineering and Technology shall be permissible only in emerging areas. Paragraph 2.15.3 makes it clear that institutions shall be eligible for new course(s)/expansion of existing course(s), equal to the number of valid NBA Accredited course(s), limited to a maximum of 4 within the definition of division/programme/level, subject to the various conditions specified under the sub paragraphs. Sub paragraphs (e) and (f) are relevant in that context. Sub-paragraph (e) states that institutions with any accredited course shall be permitted to utilize the benefit of accreditation only once for the increase in the intake/additional course(s) etc. Sub paragraph (f) states that if an institution is having more than 4 accredited courses, the accredited course(s) above four shall be utilised for increase in the intake /additional course(s) in the subsequent years, subject to the validity of accreditation. The crucial provision under dispute is paragraph 2.15.4 which states that for an institution, at least 2 batches of students (3 batches for Management Programme) shall have graduated for a course to be eligible for NBA Accreditation. The sub-paragraphs (a) to (c) and (h) to the aforesaid paragraphs are very vital and significant for deciding the issues at hand and they read thus:“(a) the existing institutions having total “approved Intake” equal to /less than the “ Maximum Intake Allowed”/Institutions not eligible to apply for NBA accreditation, shall be permitted to increase (without NBA Accreditation) in the same level in the same programme (diploma/undergraduate/MCA/Management upto the “Maximum Intake Allowed” in each programme as that of a new Technical institution, as per Appendix 3 of the Approval Process Hand Book, subject to “zero deficiency” based on self-disclosure on AICTE web-portal.(b) the existing institutions having total “Approved Intake” exceeding the “Maximum Intake Allowed” seeking for approval for increase in intake/additional course (s) (without NBA accreditation) in the same level in the same programme (diploma/undergraduate/MCA/Management) shall have to apply for the closure of course(s) as per the procedure and shall apply for increase in intake/additional course(s) in lieu of the same, without exceeding the total “Approved Intake” as well as the number of courses/divisions as specified in Appendix (3) of the Approval Process Hand Book, subject to “Zero Deficiency” based on self-disclosure on AICTE web-portal. Increase in intake/additional course in undergraduate degree in Engineering and Technology shall be permissible only in emerging areas.(c). However, in lieu of one course with 60 intake, two courses in the same level each with 30 intake shall also be permitted.Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx(h) In all the above cases, the institution shall apply on AICTE web-portal along with the additional documents as per Appendix 17 of the Approval Process Hand Book.25. On an analysis of the sub paragraphs extracted above, it is evident that they are in pari materia with the clauses (i) and (j) of regulation 6.3 of the Regulations 2020. On a consideration of the various provisions of paragraph 2.15 dealing with ‘increase in intake/additional course(s)’ it is clear that clause (a) to (c) extracted above are exceptions carved out from the main provision by which the institutions having total Approved Intake equal to /less than the “maximum intake allowed”/institution not eligible to apply for NBA Accreditation are entitled to increase without NBA accreditation in the same level in the same programme diploma/ undergraduate/MCA/ Management upto to the maximum intake allowed in each programme in accordance with Appendix 3 of the Hand Book 2020-2021. It is an undisputed fact that all the appellants would fall under the category of sub paragraph (a) extracted and discussed above since their maximum intake is 300. Anyhow, there is no dispute with regard to the fact that the AICTE has granted approval to all the appellant institutions for starting additional courses, which can only be presumed to be one in terms of the Act, 1987, Regulations 2020 and the Approval Process Hand Book, 2020 -2021, since it is an official Act performed by an authority created under a statute. However, the thrust of the contention advanced by the learned counsel for the University is that, sub paragraph (a) permits only to increase the existing approved intake upto the maximum intake allowed by applying the methodology prescribed in sub paragraph (a) of paragraph 2.15.4 and it is submitted that the AICTE, while granting approval, has not considered the real implications contained thereunder and therefore, the approval given by the AICTE is bad, being not followed the mandatory requirements. However, it is relevant to note that there is no case for the University that the appellants have applied for the additional courses other than the emerging areas as is prescribed under the AICTE Regulations and the handbook.26. Appendix 3 prescribes the norms for intake and the number of courses/divisions in a new Technical Institution. Appendix 3.2 is for tackling the situation in undergraduate level, which is the relevant one for the purpose of instant appeals, wherein the maximum intake prescribed for Engineering and Technology programme is 60 intake per division, with course(s)/division(s) of 5 numbers and the maximum intake permitted is 300. Appendix 13 prescribes the structure of various committees and Appendix 13.4 specifically deals with scrutiny/re-scrutiny committee under Chapter I of the Approval Process Hand book. Appendix 13. 6 deals with the Expert Visit Committee.27. A reading of the aforementioned Appendixes dealing with committees make it clear that Technical as well as non-technical personnel are included in the said Committees. Therefore, the sum and substance of the submissions made by the learned counsel for the appellants is that the AICTE has granted approval to the appellants after following the required mandatory formalities and ordeal as are provided under law, and so also the University is not at liberty to assail the action of the AICTE, since University is not an aggrieved person, and further that the AICTE can only be presumed to have issued the approval after adhering to the mandatory requirements under law, which cannot be challenged by the University collaterally in the writ petitions filed by the institutions. It is also explicit that the University has not brought any deficiency in the procedure followed, to the notice of the AICTE, or we do not think, established any legal or procedural infirmities in the grant of approval before the learned single Judge. Therefore, we are of the considered opinion that, it was not legal on the part of the learned single Judge to have entered into adverse findings in respect of the approval granted by the AICTE to the institutions concerned for starting additional courses. Moreover, it was the prerogative of the AICTE to interpret and apply its laws in the applications submitted by the appellants and the University had no manner of role to be played in that process for more reasons than one especially due to the fact that AICTE is vested with powers by virtue of the provisions of the Regulation 2020 and the Admission Process Hand Book to process the application for approval even without NOC from the State and the University. We will consider the said issue with reference to the judgements of the Apex Court in the context, after considering the contentions advanced by the learned counsel on either side on the basis of Appendix 17 of the Approval Process Hand Book dealing with documents to be submitted/uploaded for extension of approval based on self-disclosure and among others increase in intake/additional course(s). Appendix 17.1 and rest of the provisions thereto is in regard to the documents to be uploaded under various circumstances. Appendix 17.7 is with regard to additional documents to be submitted at the time of scrutiny committee verification for approval of increase in intake/additional course(s)/introduction of integrated/dual degree course'/institutions having total “approved intake” less than the “Maximum Intake Allowed”/introduction of fellow programme in Management/extended EOA, as applicable.28. Bullet point 1) thereto insists upon an affidavit on a nonjudicial stamp paper/e-stamp paper of Rs.100, duly sworn before a First Class Magistrate or a Notary or an Oath Commissioner (not applicable for extended EOA). Likewise, bullet point No. 6 requisites an NOC from affiliating University for introduction of integrated/dual degree course(s)/institutions having total “approved intake” less than the “Maximum intake allowed” in the format. Form 8 in the format of affidavits deals with the affidavit to be submitted by the applicant in contemplation of bullet point No. 1 of Appendix 17.7, in which the material aspect to be deposed is that the institution has created all the additional facilitates such as infrastructure, hostel, faculty etc. for meeting the additional course/ increase in the intake/introduction of the Pharm D course. Likewise, format 2 of the formats prescribed, is regard to the NOC from the affiliating University/Board apparently, as per the requirement of bullet point No. 6 . Serial no. ix thereto deals with starting a new course. Relying upon the said provisions of the Hand Book, it was submitted by learned counsel for the appellants that a harmonious reading of the provisions of the handbook makes it clear that paragraph 2.15.4.a takes in not only ‘intake to existing course’, in the programme but also additional course in the emerging areas in contemplation of the procedure prescribed thereunder, and therefore, the contention advanced by the learned counsel for the University that it deals only with the ‘existing approved intake’ cannot be sustained either factually or legally. Anyhow, as we have discussed earlier, it is difficult to accept such arguments advanced by the learned counsel for the University. As pointed out above, even if the procedure adopted by the AICTE in the grant of approval was not in accordance with law, the University was not at liberty to collaterally challenge the same in any proceeding instituted by the aggrieved institutions. The Apex Court had occasion to consider the said issue and therefore, according to us, it is no more res integra.29. In Jaya Gokul Educational Trust v. Commissioner and Secretary to Government Higher Education Department, Thiruvananthpuam, Kerala state and another [(2000) 5 SCC 231] the Apex Court considered an issue of grant of approval for establishment of Technical Institutions in terms of the Section 10A of AICTE Act, 1987 and held that the approval for establishment of Technical Institutions is governed solely by the Act, 1987 and further that the Council established under the Act is the sole body authorised to grant approval and provisions of any enactment conferring powers on State Government or University inconsistent with Act, 1987 would be void. It was also held thereunder that the State Government is required to be consulted in terms of the provisions of the Act along with the regulations framed thereunder for the purpose. Paragraphs 22, 25, 26 and 28 are relevant to the context and they read thus:“22. As held in T.N. case the Central Act of 1987 and in particular, Section 10(k) occupied the field relating to “grant of approvals” for establishing technical institutions and the provisions of the Central Act alone were to be complied with. So far as the provisions of the Mahatma Gandhi University Act or its statutes were concerned and in particular Statute 9(7), they merely required the University to obtain the “views” of the State Government. That could not be characterised as requiring the “approval” of the State Government. If, indeed, the University statute could be so interpreted, such a provision requiring approval of the State Government would be repugnant to the provisions of Section 10(k) of the AICTE Act, 1987 and would again be void. As pointed out in T.N. case there were enough provisions in the Central Act for consultation by the Council of AICTE with various agencies, including the State Governments and the universities concerned. The State-Level Committee and the Central Regional Committees contained various experts and State representatives. In case of difference of opinion as between the various consultees, AICTE would have to go by the views of the Central Task Force. These were sufficient safeguards for ascertaining the views of the State Governments and the universities. No doubt the question of affiliation was a different matter and was not covered by the Central Act but in T.N. case it was held that the University could not impose any conditions inconsistent with the AICTE Act or its Regulation or the conditions imposed by AICTE. Therefore, the procedure for obtaining the affiliation and any conditions which could be imposed by the University, could not be inconsistent with the provisions of the Central Act. The University could not, therefore, in any event have sought for “approval” of the State Government.25. As already stated, in view of the judgment of this Court in T.N. case it is obvious that there is no need to approach the State of Kerala for its approval for starting the engineering colleges. There is no power vested in the State under any State law to grant approval and even if it was so vested, it would have been void in view of T.N. case. This ground of repugnancy alone would be sufficient to quash the State Government's letter dated 16-8- 1996 refusing to give their approval.26. Even on merits, the reasons given by the State Government in its counter are not tenable in law. The Director of Technical Education of the State was a member of the State-Level Committee as per Regulation 9(4) of the AICTE Regulations. The Secretary, Technical Education of the State of Kerala was also a member of that Committee. AICTE's approval dated 30- 4-1995 showed that the approval had been given by the State-Level Committee of which they were obviously members. It is, therefore, not understandable how the Director had given a contrary opinion to the State Government. Regulation 8(4) of AICTE only required calling for the “comments/recommendations” of the State Government and of the University. In case, there was difference between the State Government, University or the Regional Committee the Central Task Force was to make a final recommendation under Regulation 8(4). Here the letter of approval of AICTE dated 30-4-1995 showed that the Central Task Force had given its approval. The said approval was based also on the inspection by the Expert Committee of AICTE. Hence the State Government in its counter, could not have relied upon any contrary opinion of the Director of Technical Education. If the State Government had any other valid objections, its only remedy was to place its objections before the AICTE Council under the AICTE Act or before the committees, e.g. State-Level Committee etc.28. Admittedly, the University's inspection report was in favour of the appellant. This is clear from the appellant's letter dated 31-5-1995 to the State Government. The only requirement as per Statute 9(7) was for the University to obtain the “views” of the State Government. Obtaining the “views” of the State Government, as already stated, did not amount to obtaining its “approval”. Procedure and conditions for affiliation could not be inconsistent with the provisions of the Central Act, in particular Section 10(k) of the Regulation, and the University could not seek approval of the Government. The university was also one of the agencies consulted by the council of AICTE under Regulation 8. Once that was over, and approval was granted by AICTE, if there was any default on the part of the College in compliance with the conditions of approval, the only remedy for the University was to bring those facts to the notice of AICTE so that the latter could take appropriate action.”After holding so, it was held by the Apex Court that the University ought to have considered the grant of final or further affiliation without waiting for any approval from the State Government and should have acted on the basis of the permission granted by AICTE and other relevant factors in the University Act or statutes which are not inconsistent with the AICTE ACT or its regulations.30. In Rungata Engineering College, Bhilai and another v. Chhattisgarh Swami Vivekanand Technical University and another [(2015) 11 SCC 291], the Apex Court considered the power of the examining authority, that is the University and the State Government, to withdraw provisional affiliation or to decline grant of affiliation taking into account Entry 66 of list I of Schedule VII and Articles 245 and 246 of the Constitution of India, wherein after appreciating the entire gamut of the issues, it was held that the norms and the guidelines framed by AICTE are paramount and the University Regulations cannot overwrite it. Paragraphs 24, 25, 28, 29, 31 and 32 are relevant to the context and they read thus:24. The authority of the States and the universities established by the States to regulate the establishment and running of institutions imparting technical education has been a subject-matter of a long debate in various judgments of this Court. Educational institutions imparting technical education are amenable to the control of AICTE under the 1987 Act in certain aspects and the regulatory authority of the State and universities established by or under a legislation of the State, in certain other aspects.25. This Court in State of T.N. v. Adhiyaman Educational & Research Institute [State of T.N. v. Adhiyaman Educational & Research Institute, (1995) 4 SCC 104 : 1 SCEC 682] , after considering the constitutional scheme of various Entries of List I and List III of the Seventh Schedule and the language of the 1987 Act and the Madras University Act concluded that the 1987 Act is referable to Entry 66 of List I. The field of “determination of standards in institutions for higher education or research and scientific and technical institutions” is exclusive to Parliament and any law made by Parliament referable to the said field is paramount. The 1987 Act empowers AICTE, a body constituted under the said Act “to evolve suitable performance appraisal systems incorporating norms and mechanisms for maintaining accountability of the technical institutions” and lay down“norms and standards for courses, curricula, staff pattern, staff qualifications, assessment and examinations, fixing norms and guidelines for charging tuition fee and other fees, granting approval for starting new technical institutions or introducing new courses or programmes”. (SCC p. 126, para 30)This Court categorically held: (SCC pp. 126-27, para 30)“30. … Thus, so far as these matters are concerned, in the case of the institutes imparting technical education, it is not the University Act and the University but it is the Central Act and the Council created under it which will have the jurisdiction.”Consequently, this Court held “after coming into operation of the Central Act” the provisions of any other State law overlapping on the area covered by the Central Act “will be deemed to have become unenforceable…”. The argument that the State Legislature can stipulate norms of higher standards even in those areas which are covered by AICTE is clearly rejected by this Court.28. This Court in Bhartia Education Society case [Bhartia Education Society v. State of H.P., (2011) 4 SCC 527 : 4 SCEC 85] examined the scope of Section 16 of the NCTE Act which prohibited the grant of affiliation by any “examining body”, (a university) to any institution conducting a course for training people for the occupation of teaching unless such institution obtained recognition from the competent authority under the NCTE Act. Though, this Court made it clear that the “examining body” (university) does not have any discretion to refuse affiliation with reference to any of the factors which ought to be considered by NCTE while granting recognition, it recognised that the “examining body” has the authority to demand compliance with its norms in a limited area regarding the “eligibility of the candidates” and “manner of admission” of students, etc. It was further held: (Bhartia Education Society case [Bhartia Education Society v. State of H.P., (2011) 4 SCC 527 : 4 SCEC 85] , SCC pp. 534-35, para 22)“22. … For example, NCTE is required to satisfy itself about the adequate financial resources, accommodation, library, qualified staff, and laboratory required for proper functioning of an institution for a course or training in teacher education. Therefore, when recognition is granted by NCTE, it is implied that NCTE has satisfied itself on those aspects. Consequently, the examining body may not refuse affiliation on the ground that the institution does not have adequate financial resources, accommodation, library, qualified staff, or laboratory required for proper functioning of the institution. But this does not mean that the examining body cannot require compliance with its own requirements in regard to eligibility of candidates for admissions to courses or manner of admission of students or other areas falling within the sphere of the State Government and/or the examining body.”At para 24, this Court indicated the areas where the “examining body” can stipulate norms, the non-compliance with which norms authorise the examining body to cancel the affiliation: (SCC p. 535)“24. The examining body can therefore impose its own requirements in regard to eligibility of students for admission to a course in addition to those prescribed by NCTE. The State Government and the examining body may also regulate the manner of admissions. As a consequence, if there is any irregularity in admissions or violation of the eligibility criteria prescribed by the examining body or any irregularity with reference to any of the matters regulated and governed by the examining body, the examining body may cancel the affiliation irrespective of the fact that the institution continues to enjoy the recognition of NCTE. Sub-section (6) of Section 14 cannot be interpreted in a manner so as to make the process of affiliation, an automatic rubber-stamping consequent upon recognition, without any kind of discretion in the examining body to examine whether the institution deserves affiliation or not, independent of the recognition.”29. Similarly, under the Scheme of the 1987 Act, as noticed by this Court in para 30 of Adhiyaman Educational & Research Institute case [State of T.N. v. Adhiyaman Educational & Research Institute, (1995) 4 SCC 104 : 1 SCEC 682] , under Section 10 of the Central Act, the Council is entrusted with the power to lay down norms and standards for courses, curricula, staff pattern, staff qualification, assessment and examination, fixing norms and guidelines for charging tuition fees, etc. and further held that in these matters the University will have no authority.31. We apply the principles of law mentioned above to the facts of the present case. The various objections which (according to the respondent) formed the basis for declining affiliation to the first petitioner institution are contained in the communication dated 26-4- 2013 which was extracted in detail at para 21 (supra).32. An examination of all the objections mentioned in the said communication would reveal that each one of those objections squarely fall within the sweep of one or the other areas which only AICTE has the exclusive jurisdiction to deal with. None of them are demonstrated before us to be matters falling within the area legally falling within the domain of the respondents. AICTE, on inspection of the first petitioner College reported that the first petitioner College fulfils all the conditions prescribed by the norms and standards laid down by AICTE. The respondents did not make any specific assertion that such a report of AICTE is factually incorrect. Assuming for the sake of argument that, in the opinion of the respondents, the petitioner College has not in fact fulfilled any one of the conditions required under the norms specified by AICTE, the only course of action available for the respondents is to bring the shortcomings noticed by them to the notice of AICTE and seek appropriate action against the petitioner College. [Jaya Gokul Educational Trust v. Commr. & Secy. to Govt., Higher Education Deptt., (2000) 5 SCC 231, p. 246, para 27:“27. … Once that procedure laid down in the AICTE Act and Regulations had been followed under Regulation 8(4), and the Central Task Force had also given its favourable recommendations, there was no scope for any further objection or approval by the State. We may however add that if thereafter, any fresh facts came to light after an approval was granted by AICTE or if the State felt that some conditions attached to the permission and required by AICTE to be complied with, were not complied with, then the State Government could always write to AICTE, to enable the latter to take appropriate action.”]Accordingly, it was held that the decision of the University not to grant the affiliation to the college in question was only untenable and required to be set aside and directed to grant affiliation to the petitioner college therein.31. In Mata Gujri Memorial Medical College v. State of Bihar and others [(2009) 16 SCC 309], the Apex Court considered the State Universities Act (Bihar) vis-a-vis Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and has observed that where Central Government/MCI was satisfied about capability of institution to impart medical education and had granted affiliation/recognition to it after following the prescribed procedure, State would have no say in the matter and thereupon held that since both the Medical Council as well as the Central Government had conducted due inspection of the appellant institution and were fully satisfied about the capability of the institution, the State Government could not prevent grant of affiliation to it. Paragraph 6 of the said judgement is relevant to the context, which reads thus:“6. Be it stated that in the case in hand there are materials on record to indicate that both the Medical Council as well as the Central Government had held due inspection of the appellant Institution and were fully satisfied about the capability of the Institution to impart MBBS course for 60 students annually. After having examined the aforesaid materials on record, we really fail to understand how the State Government can prevent the grant of affiliation to the Institution in question. Mr B.B. Singh, learned counsel appearing for the State in the course of his arguments has contended that the Institution may deteriorate either in its management amounting to maladministration or even with regard to taking appropriate steps (sic) so far for academic and curricular activities and, therefore, the State cannot be denuded of its power even to derecognise/deaffiliate the said Institution. Such a situation had been considered by this Court in the second case i.e. Jaya Gokul [(2000) 5 SCC 231] and it was observed that if, on account of fresh facts which come to light after the Institution receives affiliation to the University on the basis of recommendations made by MCI or any capable body, the State Government can always bring that to the notice of the competent authority and the power of the competent authority to derecognise or deaffiliate is always there in a given case. This being the position and in view of the subsequent events which have happened in the
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case in hand, while the matter was pending in this Court, in relation to the so-called inspection and recommendations made by MCI as well as by the Central Government, we direct that the appropriate authority, namely, the University may grant permanent affiliation to the Institution which has not been granted so far because of the pendency of the matter in this Court. The affiliation would necessarily be in relation to the intake capacity as recommended and approved by MCI. This appeal stands disposed of accordingly.”32. On the other hand, learned counsel for the University has invited our attention to the judgment of the Apex Court in Jawaharalal Nehru Technological University Registrar v. Sangam Lashmi Bhai Vidyapeet and others (2018 KHC 6863), wherein the question considered was whether a University was bound to give NOC for opening an educational institution or for a new course irrespective of educational needs of the locality under its jurisdiction and thereby, promote the mushroom growth of institutions. It is true, in the context of the said issue, the Apex Court has held that in that process, the University was entitled to consider various aspects, including the requirement of the area. But in the appeals at hand, such a question has not arisen since the institutions are all existing ones and the University is not at liberty at this belated stage to contend that there was no educational need when the institutions were established.33. We have evaluated the rival submissions and have gone through the written submissions made by the respective counsel, and we are of the considered opinion that in the light of the AICTE Act, 1987, Regulations 2020, and the Approval Process Hand Book, the AICTE was entitled to take a decision in the matter of grant of approval, since it is vested with ample powers under law to do so. We also will have to legally presume that during the process undertaken by it, the AICTE has adhered to the mandatory exercises as per the provisions of law, especially due to the fact that it is not specifically mentioned and established by the University or the State as to the mandatory procedural failure on the part of the AICTE in carrying out its obligations and duties before grant of the approval. Moreover, the AICTE Act, 1987, the Regulations for the Grant of Approval for Technical Institutions, Regulations, 2020 and the Approval Process Hand Book constituted in accordance with the powers conferred under the Regulations are, in all respects, a code by itself for conduct of its to undertake its activities, and they are also superior to the laws of the University in question as is held by the Apex Court in the judgements discussed supra. The documents produced along with the writ petitions and the appeals would prove that the AICTE has conducted inspection and drawn reports also and therefore, cannot be said that the AICTE has not adhered to the procedure prescribed for approval of the additional courses. Moreover, Articles 245 and 246 of the Constitution of India, in unequivocal terms, specify that when there is a conflict by and between any legislation of the Union and the State, the laws made by the Union in its absolute domain would be superior in all respects and the State has no power to interfere with the jurisdiction so exercised by the Union. For convenience, Articles 245 and 246 of the Constitution of India are extracted hereunder:“245. Extent of laws made by Parliament and by the Legislatures of States (1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament may make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India, and the Legislature of a State may make laws for the whole or any part of the State(2) No law made by Parliament shall be deemed to be invalid on the ground that it would have extra-territorial operation.246. Subject matter of laws made by Parliament and by the Legislatures of States (1) Notwithstanding anything in clauses ( 2 ) and ( 3 ), Parliament has exclusive power to make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List I in the Seventh Schedule (in this Constitution referred to as the Union List)(2) Notwithstanding anything in clause ( 3 ), Parliament, and, subject to clause ( 1 ), the Legislature of any State also, have power to make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List III in the Seventh Schedule (in this Constitution referred to as the Concurrent List)(3) Subject to clauses (1) and (2), the Legislature of any State has exclusive power to make laws for such State or any part thereof with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List II in the Seventh Schedule (in this Constitution referred to as the “State List”)(4) Parliament has power to make laws with respect to any matter for any part of the territory of India not included (in a State) notwithstanding that such matter is a matter enumerated in the State List.”Admittedly, the subject issue is the domain of the Union Government due to the fact that higher education is included in entry 66 of list I of Schedule VII, dealing with co-ordination and determination of standards in institutions for higher education or research and scientific and technical institutions.34. Above all, taking into account all those aspects, we find that the University is not entitled to challenge the approval granted by the AICTE to the appellant institutions collaterally in the writ petitions filed by the aggrieved institutions on account of non-consideration of the applications submitted by the institutions for addition of courses in their institutions in accordance with the requirements put forth by the AICTE as per its Regulations and Approval Process Hand Book.35. Judging so, we are of the opinion that the University and the State did not have any power to incorporate the conditions in the orders in question, and the Syndicate to take the decisions discussed above for consideration of the applications pending before the University seeking affiliation for additional courses. Therefore, we are inclined to interfere with the judgment of the learned single Judge to that extent. Accordingly, we partly set aside the judgment of the learned single Judge in the writ petitions specified above, and direct the Vice Chancellor of the University to consider the applications submitted by the appellants dehors the order of the University dated 10.06.2020 and the decision of the Syndicate dated 24.06.2020 at the earliest, taking into account the fact that the AICTE has extended the last date for the affiliation to 15.09.2020 and we are also informed that though Miscellaneous Application No. 1693/2019 in C.A. No. 9048/2012 was filed before the Apex Court seeking extension of time for grant of affiliation, it was disposed of by the Apex Court as per order dated 21.08.2020 finding that the AICTE has issued a fresh calender. Since all the appeals and the issues raised are similar in nature, if not typical, all writ appeals would stand allowed accordingly. The order of the learned single Judge, setting aside the order of the state Government and consequential directions issued to the University would remain intact, especially due to the fact that neither the State nor the University have preferred appeals against the orders and directions so issued by the learned single Judge.Be that as it may, when the appeals came up for admission, we have noticed that most of the appellants were granted with interim orders for provisional affiliation by the learned single Judge during the pendency of the writ petitions, and thereupon, we have granted interim orders, in such appeals, directing the University that the provisional affiliation granted by the University to the colleges pursuant the interim orders of the learned single Judge shall continue to be in force, as per an order dated 14.08.2020 and by typical subsequent orders. The said orders would continue to be in force for all practical, admission and academic purposes till a decision is taken by the University as directed above.