Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: The Division Bench of Sanjib Banerjee, CJ and SenthilKumar Ramamoorthy, J., addressed the concern with regard to the quality of education being compromised in law colleges due to the increasing number of law colleges being opened up.

Instant matter pertained to the mushrooming of law colleges in the State.

It was stated that the standard of education imparted at some of the existing law colleges and the infrastructure available needs to be looked into.

As per the State Bar Council, it has been taking vigilant and sufficient steps, but unless there was uniformity all over the country, whether under the aegis of the Bar Council of India or pursuant to Court Orders, the situation could not be appropriately addressed.

Bench stated that there was substance in what the Bar Council stated since regulation of law colleges in a continuous state allows easy access.

Since orders have been passed earlier pertaining to the present matter hence Bench stated that the only thing that can be said is for the Bar Council to be vigilant as far as this State was concerned, since it cannot go beyond the territorial limits.

Bench expressed that the matter needs to be looked into, in-depth, by the Bar Council and possible orders have to be sought at an all India Level to ensure that the quality is not compromised in course of more law colleges being born in the guise of opportunities being created.

However, High Court held that no mandamus could be issued. Further, since it may not be effective merely to regulate the opening of law colleges within the boundaries of this State as easy access to law colleges across the neighbouring States will always be open, no meaningful order is possible to be issued at this level.

Bench suggested that the petitioner can continue the crusade but he may carry the said request to a different level.[M.D. Ashok v. Tamil Nadu State Government, 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 1289, decided on 23-03-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For Petitioner: Mr M. Madhuprakash

For Respondents: Mr V. Jayaprakash Narayanan State Government Pleader for respondent Nos.1 and 2

                               : Mr. S. R. Raghunathan for respondent No.3

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

The University Grants Commission framed and issued Guidelines for the universities and colleges for reopening their campuses.

These Guidelines have been vetted by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Education. The Guidelines may be adopted by the institutions as per the local conditions and directives of the Government authorities.

The Universities and Colleges outside the containment zones may be opened in a graded manner after consultations with concerned State/UT Governments and subject to adherence to the guidelines/SOP for safety and health protocol prepared by UGC, as under:

  1. For Centrally Funded Higher Education Institutions, the Head of the Institution should satisfy herself/himself regarding the feasibility of the opening of physical classes and decide accordingly.
  2. For all other Higher Educational Institutions, e.g., State Universities, Private Universities, Colleges etc., opening of physical classes to be done as per the decision of the respective State/UT Governments.
  3. Universities and colleges may plan opening the campuses in phases, with such activities where they can easily adhere to social distancing, use of face masks and other protective measures This may include administrative offices, research laboratories and libraries etc.
  4. Thereafter, students of all research programmes and post-graduate students in science & technology programmes may join as the number of such students is comparatively less and norms of physical distancing and preventive measures can be easily enforced.
  5. Further, final year students may also be allowed to join for academic and placement purposes, as per the decision of the head of the institution.

However, for (iii), (iv) and (v) above, it should be ensured that not more than 50% of the total students should be present at any point of time and necessary guidelines/protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are in place.

  1. For the programmes, other than those mentioned in paras (iv) and (v) above, online/distance learning shall continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and shall be encouraged.
  2. However, if required, students may visit their respective departments in a small number for consultation with the faculty members, after seeking prior appointments to avoid crowding, while maintaining physical distancing norms and other safety protocols.
  3. Some students may opt not to attend classes and prefer to study online while staying at home. Institutions may provide online study material and access to e-resources to such students for teaching-learning.
  4. Institutions should have a plan ready for such international students who could not join the programme due to international travel restrictions or visa-related issues. Online teaching-learning arrangements should also be made for them.
  5. Hostels may be opened only in such cases where it is necessary while strictly observing the safety and health preventive measures. However, the sharing of rooms may not be allowed in hostels. Symptomatic students should not be permitted to stay in the hostels under any circumstances.
  6. Before the reopening of any campus, the Central or concerned State Government must have declared the area safe for opening of educational institutions. The directions, instructions, guidelines and orders issued by the Central and concerned State Government regarding safety and health in view of COVID-19 must be fully abided by the higher education institutions.

These Guidelines provide in detail the measures to be taken by Higher Educational Institutions before re-opening of campuses. It also describes the safety measures to be taken by HEIs at Entry/Exit Point(s), in the classrooms and other learning sites, inside the campus and in the Hostels. Guidance for counselling and mental health is also provided in this document.

Earlier, the University Grants Commission issued “Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities in View of COVID-I9 Pandemic and Subsequent Lockdown” on 29th April, 2020 and then, on 6th July, 2020. These Guidelines covered important dimensions related to examinations, academic calendar, admissions, online teaching-learning, and provided flexibility for adoption by the universities.

Later, “UGC Guidelines on Academic Calendar for the First Year of Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate Students of the Universities for the Session 2020-21 in View of COVID-19 Pandemic” were issued on 24th September, 2020.

Click here for the detailed UGC guidelines for Re-opening the Universities and Colleges Post Lockdown

Click here for the salient features of UGC guidelines for Re-opening the Universities and Colleges Post Lockdown


Ministry of Education

[Press Release dt. 05-11-2020]

[Source: PIB]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued new guidelines today, for opening up more activities in areas outside the Containment Zones. In these guidelines, which will come into effect from October 1, 2020, the process of re-opening of activities has been extended further. The new guidelines, issued today, are based on feedback received from States and UTs, and extensive consultations held with related Central Ministries and Departments.

Salient features of the new guidelines

Activities permitted from 15th October 2020, in areas outside the Containment Zones

  • Cinemas/ theatres/ multiplexes will be permitted to open with upto 50% of their seating capacity, for which, SOP will be issued by Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.
  • Business to Business (B2B) Exhibitions will be permitted to open, for which, SOP will be issued by the Department of Commerce.
  • Swimming pools being used for training of sportspersons will be permitted to open, for which the standard operating procedure (SOP) will be issued by Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (MoYA&S).
  • Entertainment parks and similar places will be permitted to open, for which the SOP will be issued by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW).

Opening of Schools, colleges, education institutions and coaching institutions

  • For re-opening of schools and coaching institutions, State/ UT Governments have been given the flexibility to take a decision after 15th October 2020, in a graded manner.  The decision shall be taken in consultation with the respective school/ institution management, based on their assessment of the situation, and subject to the following conditions:
  • Online/ distance learning shall continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and shall be encouraged.
  • Where schools are conducting online classes, and some students prefer to attend online classes rather than physically attend school, they may be permitted to do so.
  • Students may attend schools/ institutions only with the written consent of parents.
  • Attendance must not be enforced, and must depend entirely on parental consent.
  • States /UTs will prepare their own SOP regarding health and safety precautions for reopening of schools/ institutions based on the SOP to be issued by Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL), Ministry of Education, Government of India, keeping local requirements in view.
  • Schools, which are allowed to open, will have to mandatorily follow the SOP to be issued by Education Departments of States/ UTs.
  • Department of Higher Education (DHE), Ministry of Education may take a decision on the timing of the opening of Colleges/ Higher Education Institutions, in consultation with Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), based on the assessment of the situation. Online/ distance learning shall continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and shall be encouraged.
  • However, Higher Education Institutions only for research scholars (Ph.D) and post-graduate students in science and technology stream requiring laboratory/ experimental works will be permitted to open from 15th October, 2020, as under:
    1. For Centrally Funded Higher Education Institutions, the Head of Institution will satisfy herself/ himself that there is a genuine requirement of research scholars (Ph.D) and post-graduate students in science and technology stream for laboratory/experimental works.
    2. For all other Higher Education Institutions e.g. State Universities, Private Universities etc., they may open only for research scholars (Ph.D.) and postgraduate students in science and technology stream requiring laboratory/experimental works as per decision to be taken by the respective State/UT Governments.

Regulation of gatherings

  • Social/ academic/ sports/ entertainment/ cultural/ religious/ political functions and other congregations have already been permitted with a ceiling of 100 persons, outside Containment Zones only.  Now State/ UT Governments have been given the flexibility to permit such gatherings beyond the limit of 100 persons, outside Containment Zones, after 15th October 2020, which will be subject to the following conditions:
  • In closed spaces, a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity will be allowed, with a ceiling of 200 persons. Wearing of face masks, maintaining social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and use of hand wash or sanitizer will be mandatory.
  • In open spaces, keeping the size of the ground/ space in view, and with strict observance of social distancing, mandatory wearing of face masks, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer.

To ensure that such gatherings do not spread COVID-19, State/ UT Governments will issue detailed SOPs to regulate such gathering, and strictly enforce the same.

  • All activities, except the following, shall be permitted outside containment zones:
    1. International air travel of passengers, except as permitted by MHA.
  • Lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the Containment Zones till 31st October, 2020.
  • Containment Zones shall be demarcated by the District authorities at micro level after taking into consideration the guidelines of MoHFW with the objective of effectively breaking the chain of transmission. Strict containment measures will be enforced in these containment zones and only essential activities will be allowed.
  • Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and only essential activities allowed.
  • These Containment Zones will be notified on the websites of the respective District Collectors and by the States/ UTs and information will also be shared with MOHFW.

States not to impose any local lockdown outside Containment Zones

  • State/ UT Governments shall not impose any local lockdown (State/ District/ sub-division/City/ village level), outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central Government.

No restriction on Inter-State and intra-State movement

  • There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods. No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit will be required for such movements.

National Directives for COVID-19 management

  • National Directives for COVID-19 management shall continue to be followed throughout the country, with a view to ensure social distancing.  Shops will need to maintain adequate physical distancing among customers. MHA will monitor the effective implementation of National Directives.

Protection for vulnerable persons

  • Vulnerable persons, i.e., persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, are advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.

Use of Aarogya Setu

  • The use of Aarogya Setu mobile application will continue to be encouraged.

Ministry of Home Affairs

[Press Release dt. 30-09-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

UGC issues notice that no employing Higher Educational Institutions shall keep in their possession any teacher’s original academic certificates/documents which is akin to depriving them of their rights.
The public notice stated,
It has come to the notice of UGC that many of the universities/colleges/institutes collect the original academic certificates, mark-sheets etc. at the time of issuing employment contracts to the teachers and the continue to retain those documents with them.
Due to the above-stated, teachers face a tough time recovering their certificates from their employer educational institutions when they leave their job. Many even have to forego their better prospects as they are not able to recover their documents in time.
Read the notice here: NOTICE

University Grants Commission
[Public Notice dt. 11-08-2020]