After being pulled up by the Bombay high court for approving over a dozen engineering colleges in the state despite several complaints of irregularities against them, the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) may revoke the approval of 25 engineering colleges in Maharashtra.
The court, in its earlier order, had directed AICTE, the apex technical education body, to inspect these colleges to verify complaints against them. Following this, AICTE carried out the inspection, and according to a highly placed official, "most of the complaints were found to be true, and hence approval of those institutes is being revoked."
Interestingly, AICTE gives approval to all professional institutions across India, on a yearly basis. The approval for 2014-15 was given only a month ago.
Mumbai-based NGO, Citizen Forum for Sanctity in Education System (CFSES), had approached Bombay high court in June first week raising objections to approval given to these 25 institutions ignoring it complaints against them.
When contacted, AICTE chairman SS Mantha said: "At this point of time I can't divulge the names of the colleges whose approval is being revoked."
Asked why these colleges had been given approval in the first place despite complaints, Mantha said: "These are old institutions whose approval was extended on the basis of their own declarations. Self-declaration policy was adopted a few years ago due to limited resources at our end. If institutes lie, what can we do?"
Mantha said AICTE had got "just a month" for the approval process involving nearly 1,600 technical and professional colleges, instead of the needed one year.
Asked if the 'self-declaration policy' would be revised as it had led to several controversies, as well denting the council's reputation, Mantha said: "We are trying to chalk out a better system. But we would not like to share something when it's only in the discussion phase."
Subhash Athawale, professor in a city engineering college, who is also a member of the citizen forum, said: "AICTE has failed to nail such institutions."
HC interim relief to Pillai Engg College
AICTE has withdrawn the approval of Pillai Engineering College, a Panvel-based engineering institute, one of the 25 colleges whose approval had led to the court case. However, the institute approached Bombay high court on July1 against the AICTE move. PRO of Pillai Group of Institutions Nivedita Shreyans, told dna: "In an interim relief, HC has stayed the AICTE decision and directed the council to put up the institute's name again on its website so that it can be included in the CAP round till further orders."
The next hearing in the matter is on July11.