Telangana High Court | Photo: File photo
The Telangana High Court dismissed writ petitions filed by private engineering colleges challenging the State government’s denial of permission to introduce courses and increase seats.
Delivering the judgement, Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice CV Bhaskar Reddy also dismissed the private schools’ contentions challenging Rules 3.4, 5.5 and 5.6 of the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Affiliation Procedure and Regulations. Schools wanted to start B.Tech courses in new subjects like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Block Chain Technology, Robotics, Data Science and Cyber Security.
The state government, however, refused to allow the new courses, stating that taking more students could hurt its finances. The associations, in their pleadings, also questioned the validity of the regulations on affiliation procedures. The government said it was reaching 2,670 seats by schools that submitted written requests for improvement in student intake.
In one academic year, the financial implication of these seats was ₹ 13.90 crore. For four years, it was ₹55.61 crore. “Such an additional seat would undoubtedly have an economic impact on the State exchequer. Therefore, the view of the State government is important,” the bench said in its verdict.
The government, in a note issued on November 12, rejected the proposal to introduce the Technical Education Commissioner’s courses for the academic year 2022-23 and increase the enrollment in private unaided vocational schools for the academic year 2022-23. The government referred to it as a political decision. “It cannot be said that it is an extraneous or irrelevant or non-German consideration,” the judgment reads.
The judgment said the HC had earlier, in a writ petition, ruled that it was illegal for private colleges not to admit new courses. But JNTU moved the Supreme Court challenging that decision. The Supreme Court allowed the Special Leave Petition filed by the JNTU, saying “it was wrong for the HC to say that it was not permissible for the State government to make a policy”.
The regulations challenged by the private schools mandate that the prior permission of the State government is essential both to start a course and to increase the intake of students. But the All India Central Council of Technical Education (AICTE) Admission Process Manual 2022-23 states that such permission from the State government would not be required.
Referring to the judgment of the Apex court, the division bench in the judgment observed that the question of increase in admission or new courses is an area not occupied by any Central legislation like the AICTE Act. Against this backdrop, “It is certainly open to the State government to give its say in matters relating to increase in seats or creation of new courses,” the judgment said.