After SC order, names of deemed varsities clipped

New Delhi. On November 3, 2017, the Supreme Court ordered the University Grants Commission (UGC) to restrain deemed universities from using the word ‘university’ in their names. The government complied this week — with the outcome that at least 10 of these institutions now have distinctly odd-sounding names.

In Bengaluru, Christ University will now be known as only “Christ”, and Jain University has been renamed “Jain”. In Ghaziabad, Santosh University has been reduced to just “Santosh”, and in Dehradun, Graphic Era University will be now called “Graphic Era”. Pune’s Symbiosis International University will be “Symbiosis International”.

These institutions are among 14 deemed-to-be universities that were intimated of their new names by the HRD Ministry on Friday. A gazette notification is expected soon.

On November 11, a week after the SC verdict, the UGC had warned all 123 deemed-to-be universities of strong punitive action unless they dropped the word ‘university’ from their names. A majority of these institutions had begun to call themselves universities on their own. In the case of 14 institutions, however, the fault was found to be that of the government’s — HRD Ministry notifications announcing their deemed status had erroneously referred to them as universities.

To correct the mistake, the UGC asked these 14 institutions to suggest alternative names that did not contain the word ‘university’. Most requested that the fresh notification should carry their name with ‘deemed to be university’ in parenthesis. But this was not acceptable to the Ministry — it did not agree that a status/titled conferred by the UGC could be part of the name of an institution, 

Alternative names suggested by only four of the 14 institutions were accepted. After seeking the Law Ministry’s opinion, the HRD Ministry on Friday informed the 14 institutions of their new names. And Allahabad’s Nehru Gram Bharti Vishwavidyalaya, which wanted to be called ‘Nehru Gram Bharati (Deemed to be University)’, became ‘Nehru Gram Bharati’, instead.

The four deemed universities whose suggested alternative names found favour with the government are: Manav Rachna International University (now Manav Rachna International Institute of Research and Studies) and Lingaya’s University (now Lingaya’s Vidyapeeth), both in Faridabad; Jagadguru Sri Shivarathreeswara University in Mysuru (now JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research); and Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya in Haridwar (now Gurukul Kangri Vidyapeeth)