By Pramit Chhetri.
The High Court of Sikkim on 03 January 2020, dismissed the petition filed by Sikkim Manipal University (SMU) which challenged the order of the University Grant Commission (UGC), that refrained the university to conduct examination outside the state of Sikkim.
The UGC on 19 July 2016, had issued a public notice prohibiting Universities/Institutions from conducting examinations for their Open and Distance Learning Programmes outside the territorial jurisdiction of the University’s location.
SMU being registered under the Act of state legislature in the year 1995, challenged the said public notice, contending that the bar on the conduct of examinations outside the state of Sikkim is arbitrary, irrational, discriminatory and plainly opposed to the very concept of distance education and the objective of reaching out to students in remote areas.
On the other hand, the UGC submitted that no right to operate outside the state accrues to SMU, because the university is established by the legislation of the state of Sikkim. The High Court after considering all the submission of parties held that UGC is well within its right to regulate distance education and its public notice of 2016 is neither capricious nor unreasonable and the said public notice does not violate the principle of Article 19(1)(g) or Article 21 of the Constitution. The High Court, while dismissing the case held that none of the students who are said to be enrolled in the Distance Education Programme of the SMU in any point of the time objected to the impugned notifications or communications and neither have they sought to be as a party, respondent as intervenors in the case. Therefore, in view of this judgment, it is made clear that the universities and institutions which are registered in one state are not allowed to conduct examination outside the jurisdiction of the state.
Please click on the link below and enter writ petition number WP (C) No. 65/ 2016