The Supreme Court on August 29, 2019, in the case of Vinit Garg and Others v. University Grants Commission and Others has held that institutions intending to impart technical education programme through distance learning mode need to mandatorily seek approval and recognition of University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
The Bench comprising of Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Sanjiv Khanna dismissed a writ petition filed by 92 persons who had prayed for directing the UGC to issue a clarification that the degrees of Bachelor of Technology acquired by them through open and distance learning mode from the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala are valid, recognised and should be treated at par with degrees granted to regular students who have undertaken such courses in TIET, Patiala and other recognised universities.
The court noted that, admittedly, approval of the AICTE was not obtained by TIET, Patiala, which was held mandatory in judgment in Orissa Lift Irrigation Corporation Limited v. Rabi Sankar Patro and Others.
Referring to the above-mentioned judgment, the court said that “The said order, the Court noted, had definitively vested the UGC and AICTE, among other statutory regulators, with powers to regulate technical courses imparted through distance learning mode and made it mandatory for institutions intending to impart such courses to seek their approval and recognition.”
It was observed that B.Tech. degrees could not have been awarded through distance learning mode without the approval of the Distance Education Council (DEC) and without any specific approval of the AICTE and UGC and award of such degrees without approval of the three were invalid and cannot be recognised.
Thus, finding no merit in the writ petition, the court dismissed it without any order as to costs.