w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



R. Chithra v/s The Secretary, Department of Biotechnology Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, New Delhi & Others


Company & Directors' Information:- G P C TECHNOLOGY LIMITED [Not available for efiling] CIN = L31300DL1980PLC010998

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    W.P. No. 2189, 2764, 2771, 3106, 3109 & 3081 of 2021 & W.M.P. Nos. 2478, 2479, 2480, 3499, 3501, 3504, 3112, 3114, 3116, 3120, 3122, 3124, 3512, 3514, 3515, 3522, 3523 & 3524 of 2021

    Decided On, 19 February 2021

    At, High Court of Judicature at Madras

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE B. PUGALENDHI

    For the Petitioner: A. Saravanan, Advocate. For the Respondents: R1 & R2, R. Pragadish, R3, B. Rabu Manohar, Advocates, R4, E. Manoharan, Spl.G.P, R5 & R6, Vijay Kumar, SC.



Judgment Text

(Prayer: Writ Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying for issuance of Writ of Certiorari, calling for the records pertaining to order dated 29.01.2021 published in the 5th respondent's website www.biotechannauniv.com issued by the 5th respondent canceling the admission to M.Tech (Biotechnology/M.Tech (Computational Biology) Degree Programmes for Academic year 2020- 21 passed by the 5th respondent and quash the same.)

1. All these Writ Petitions are filed as against an order of Anna University dated 29.01.2021 with regard to the admissions to DPT supported M.Tech Biotechnology (Computational Biology Degree Programme) for the academic year 2020-21. By the said order, the Anna University has informed that it is unable to proceed with the admission to the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India supported M.Tech Biotechnology and M.Tech (Computational Biology) Degree Programmes for the academic year 2020-21 in view of the confusion in implementation of the reservation policies on the admission for the said course. The petitioners, under graduates in Biotechnology who intended to pursue their higher education in these courses have filed this writ petition as against the decision taken by the Anna University.

2. The M.Tech Biotechnology degree course at Anna University was started in the year 1985-86 and this PG Degree Course has been wholly sponsored by the Department of Biotechnology (DPT) supported by the Government of India. The candidates are selected through a common entrance examination GAT-B conducted by DPT through its Regional Centre for Biotechnology at Faridabad and they are maintaining separate merit list of qualified students for the various categories of students as per the Government of India norms and the participating institutions such as the Anna University are required to fill up the eligible candidates from the merit list published by the GAT-B examination and as per the role of reservation applicable to the Government of India.

3. The Anna University and 34 other institutions are selection request for examination of this DPT supported M.Tech Biotechnology for the academic years 2020-21 to 2024-25 by the DPT with a condition that the University should adopt DPT terms and conditions for implementation of this program. Certain mandatory terms and conditions are also prescribed with regard to the faculty, selection and admission of students, reservation policy and norms fees structures etc. As per this terms and conditions, the University will admit students under DPT support through centralized selection process i.e., National Level Entrance Examination conducted by DPT recognized / approved agency and the reservation policy shall be as per the norms of Government of India. The Anna University is permitted to admit 45 students for this course with fellowship of Rs.12,500/- per student and a sum of Rs.70,000/- towards consumables, theses grant and for equipments per student is provided by the DPT approximately the DPT is affording around Rs.1 Crore for this programme to the Anna University.

4. In all these years, the students from Tamil Nadu are admitted to these programmes through the National Selection process conducted by DPT and in this year the DPT has changed this process due to pandemic and the examination is conducted by a Nodal Agency and the selection and admission of candidates are left to the individual Universities. Since the selection and admission are now vested with the Anna University, the Anna University has raised a reasonable doubt on the rule of reservation to be adopted whether as per the Government of India or as per the reservation policy of the Government of Tamil Nadu.

5. The Government of India is adopting the rule of reservation as 49.5% whereas the Government of Tamil Nadu is following the rule of reservation as 69%. The rule of reservation as per the terms and conditions of the DPT for this programme is that the Universities have to admit the students following the reservation policy and norms of Government of India. Whereas, the Regional Centre for Biotechnology the Nodal Agency of DPT which is conducting this GAT-B (Graduate Aptitude Test - Biotechnology) Entrance Examination. In their instructions for the GAT-B Examination has stated the reservation policy as follows:

"RESERVATION POLICY There will be separate merit lists of qualified students for the various categories of students as per the Government of India norms. The participating institutions are required to follow the reservation rules as applicable to them."

6. The University Grants Commission has also issued a Circular to all the Universities and deemed Universities on the implementation of reservation policy of the Government in Universities, deemed to be Universities, Colleges and other Grant-in-aid Institutions and Centres as follows;

"According to UGC Act, 1956, the UGC has to ensure effective implementation of the Reservation policy in Universities and Institutions receiving aid from the public funds except in Minority Institutions under Article 30(1) of the Constitution. All centrally funded Universities/Colleges/ Institutions are required to ensure strict compliance of Government of India orders/rules on the reservation in their institutions. State Universities including its affiliated its affiliated/constituent colleges and other Institutes functioning within the State should follow the percentage of reservation for SC/ST & OBC as prescribed by the concerned State Government."

7. As per the instructions of the Nodal Agency namely Regional Centre for Biotechnology and the UGC, the said Universities including its affiliated/constituent colleges should follow the policy of reservation as prescribed by the State Government. Whereas in the terms and conditions of the DPT, the Universities have been directed to follow the reservation of Government of India. Therefore, the Director of CBT/DPT Anna University sought for a clarification from the Secretary to Government, Higher Education, State of Tamil Nadu and the Adviser to the Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi. As a clarification, the Director of Biotechnology has instructed the University to follow the reservation policy of the Government of India and the Secretary to Higher Education Department instructed the University to follow the rule of reservation as per the State Government's reservation policy and suggested the University to obtain necessary permission to implement the same. In view of the stand taken by the DBT and the Government of Tamil Nadu, the Anna University left with no other option passed the impugned order as on 29.01.2021, not to proceed with the course for this year and the same is the subject matter in these writ petitions.

8. Mr.Saravanan, learned counsel for the petitioner submits that this course is a prestigious course, which has produced several scientists and is in existence for several decades is sought to be discontinued, causes great prejudice and irrepairable hardship to the petitioners, who are aspiring to their post graduation of M.Tech (Bio- Technology). He would further submit that in view of this stand by the respondent / University, the aspiring students are loosing one year. It would also affect continuity of the course. He also produced the list of world class researchers in the field of Bio-Technology emerged from the Anna University from the DPT Sponsored program.

9. Mr.Vijayakumar, learned counsel for the Anna University submits that this course is entirely sponsored by the Central Government and they are bound by the terms and conditions of the DBT and this year since the selection and admission has been vested with the University, this confusion arose and the Anna University has also sought for clarification from both the Government of India and the Government of Tamil Nadu and both the Government as well the DBT stick on to their stand that the admission must be carried out as per their rule of reservation and therefore, having no other option, they have discontinued the course for this year. He further submit that the cut off dates for admissions are also over for this year and therefore, it is very difficult to pursue this course at this stage.

10. Mr.Pragadeesh, learned Standing Counsel submits that this course is entirely sponsored by the Government of India and 34 institutions are selected for this programme and the DBT is supporting this programme by providing fellowship of Rs.12,000/- per month for each student and a sum of Rs.70,000/- for contigencies per student and the DBT is supporting the programme by spending a sum of Rs.1 Crore and as per the terms and conditions agreed by the institutions, the university is expected to follow the rule of reservation as adopted by the Government of India. He also submits that the cut off date for admission is over and therefore the course cannot be continued for this academic year.

11. The learned Special Government Pleader Mr.Manohar appearing for the Government of Tamil Nadu would submit that University in the State has to follow the rule of reservation as per the reservation policy of the State Government and has also relied on the UGC Circular issued in this regard.

12. In view of the above such submissions made by the respective counsels, this Court suo motu impleaded the UGC as a respondent to this Writ Petition. The learned counsel for the UGC after getting instructions made a submission that if the course is funded by the Government of India then the University is expected to comply with the reservation of Government of India. However, she requested some more time to get the written instructions in this regard.

13. Mr.Rabu Manohar, learned Standing counsel for the University has submitted that the cut off date for the Engineering course (Diploma and Diploma Latter Entrance) are over by 31.12.2020 and for this sponsoring programme, the cut off date can be extended. Mr.E.Manohar, learned Special Government Pleader, by referring to the order of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Association of Management of Private Colleges Vs. AICTE & others reported in (2013) 8 SCC 271 would submit that these courses conducted in the university does not fall under the category of Technical Institution as defined under Section 2(h) of AICTU Act and therefore the formal approval of AICTU is not required.

14. The Hon'ble Supreme Court in the said judgment has raised an issue where the colleges affiliated to University come within the purview of execution of the definition of Technical Institution as defined under Section 2(h) of AICTE Act held as follows:

"2(h) “technical institution” means an institution, not being a University, which offers courses or programmes of technical education, and shall include such other institutions as the Central Government may, in consultation with the Council, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare as technical institutions;"

15. This Court paid its anxious consideration to the rival submissions made. The M.Tech Biotechnology Course is conducted by the Anna University from the year 1985 onwards. The Government of India started sponsoring this course from the year 1991 and the DPT is also sponsoring around Rs.1 Crore for the fellowship and for other contingencies.

16. The DPT has selected 34 Institutions including the Anna University for this sponsored programme for the academic year 2020- 21 to 2024 - 25. Certain mandatory terms and conditions were also prescribed by the DPT HRD task force in implementing this PG Programme. As per the terms and conditions of the DPT, the University is expected to follow the reservation policy as per the norms of Government of India. However, in the brochure issued by the Regional Centre for Biotechnology, the Nodal Agency which is conducting the Graduate Aptitude Test Biotechnology for the year 2020 the reservation policy is mentioned as their instructions that the participating institutions are required to follow the reservation rules as applicable to them. The Anna University in the State of Tamil Nadu is expected to follow the reservation policy of the State as per the UGC guidelines. The UGC has issued a guideline that the State Universities including its affiliated/constituent colleges functioning within the State should follow the policy of reservation as prescribed by the concerned State Government. However, the learned counsel for the UGC has clarified that it is not applicable for the centrally funded/sponsored programmes of the Universities. The University has also made it clear that in view of the specific stand taken by both DPT and the Government of Tamil Nadu in implementation of the reservation policy and in view of the confusion in the brochures issued by the Nodal Agency they have suspended the programme for this year.

17. The University is incl

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ined to admit the students provided the AICTE grant permission for the same. The first respondent has also come forward to sponsor the candidates from the State of Tamil Nadu as followed previously by them in order to avoid this confusion. The learned counsel for AICTE on instructions of the Officers who were present in the Court submits that the course can be continued and as it is a sponsored programme, there is no impediment for them in admitting the students and the cut off date is not applicable for this course. In fact all the respondents have expressed that the course must continue and the eligible students must be benefited. 18. In view of this stand taken by the respondents, this Writ Petition is allowed and the impugned order is set aside with a direction to the respondent/University to admit students as per the Government of India norms, as it is wholly sponsored by the Government of India. The AICTE and the first respondent shall coordinate with the respondent/Anna University to continue this course for this academic year without any break. The first respondent shall complete the selection process and communicate the eligible candidates to Anna University within two weeks. The AICTE shall accord approval of extension of admission beyond the cut off date. 19. With the above observations, this Writ Petitions stand allowed. No costs. Consequently, all the connected miscellaneous petitions are closed.
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