The Government of India published a Gazette Notification on December 27, 2003, UGC (ESTABLISHMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF STANDARDS IN PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES) REGULATIONS, 2003 [page 1, page 2, page 3] which states the following:
(i) Setting up of private universities through State Acts is a recent phenomenon. An effective regulatory mechanism is required for the maintenance of standards of teaching, research, examination and extension services in these private universities.
(ii) An effective mechanism for regulating the functioning of existing State Universities recognized by the University Grants Commission under section 2(f) and 12B of the UGC Act, 1956 is already in place. In almost all the States, the Governor of the State is the ex-officio Chancellor of the universities in that particular State. Besides, all the recognized State Universities under the purview of the UGC are receiving grants from the UGC and are obligated to follow the statutory regulations made under the UGC Act, which inter-alia include regulations defining the minimum qualifications that should be possessed by any person to be appointed to the teaching staff of the universities; regulations defining the minimum standards of instruction for the grant of a degree by a university, etc.
(iii) Under Section 3 of the UGC Act, deemed to be university status is granted by the Central Government to those educational institutions of repute, which fulfill the prescribed standards and comply with various requirements laid down by the UGC.
(iv) For private universities belonging to a separate category altogether, a suitable regulatory mechanism is essential by way of laying down the conditions specifically for the establishment and operation of such universities for safeguarding the interests of the student community with adequate emphasis on the quality of education and to avoid commercialization of higher education, etc.
(v) Accordingly, in exercise of the powers conferred by clauses (f) & (g) of sub-section (1) of Section 26 of the UGC Act, 1956, the UGC hereby makes the following Regulations, namely:
1. Short title, application and commencement
1.1. These regulations may be called the University Grants Commission (Establishment of and Maintenance of Standards in Private Universities) Regulations, 2003.
1.2. These shall apply to every private university established by or incorporated under a State Act, before or after the commencement of these regulations.
1.3. These shall apply to all the degrees/diplomas/certificates (including those offered in India in collaboration with foreign universities) offered under formal, non-formal or distance education mode by the private university.
1.4. These shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Gazette of India.
1.5. Any private university, which has started functioning before commencement of these Regulations, shall ensure adherence to these Regulations within a period of 3 months from the notification of these Regulations and confirm the compliance to the UGC. Failure to comply with this requirement, shall render any degree/diploma awarded by a private university as unspecified in terms of Section 22(3) of the UGC Act and shall invite penalty under Section 24 of the UGC Act.
2.1. "private university" means a university duly established through a State / Central Act by a sponsoring body, viz. a Society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, or any other corresponding law for the time being in force in a State or a Public Trust or a Company registered under Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956.
2.2. "off-campus centre"* means a centre of the private university established by it outside the main campus (within or outside the State) operated and maintained as its constituent unit, having the university's compliment of facilities, faculty and staff.
2.3. "off-shore campus"* means a campus of the private university established by it outside the country, operated and maintained as its constituent unit, having the university's compliment of facilities, faculty and staff.
2.4. "study centre"* means a centre established and maintained or recognized by the university for the purpose of advising, counseling or for rendering any other assistance required by the students used in the context of distance education.
2.5. "student" means a person duly admitted and pursuing a programme of study.
* "off-campus centre", "off-shore campus" and "study centre" as defined under these Regulations shall be applicable to the universities as defined under 2(f) of the UGC Act, 1956.
3. Establishment and recognition of Private Universities
3.1. Each private university shall be established by a separate State Act and shall conform to the relevant provisions of the UGC Act, 1956, as amended from time to time.
3.2. A private university shall be a unitary university having adequate facilities for teaching, research, examination and extension services.
3.3. A private university established under a State Act shall operate ordinarily within the boundary of the State concerned. However, after the development of main campus, in exceptional circumstances, the university may be permitted to open off-campus centres, off-shore campuses and study centres after five years of its coming into existence, subject to the following conditions:3.3.1. The off-campus centre(s) and / or the study centre(s) shall be set up with the prior approval of the UGC and that of the State Government(s) where the centre(s) is/are proposed to be opened.3.4. A Private university shall fulfil the minimum criteria in terms of programmes, faculty, infrastructural facilities, financial viability, etc., as laid down from time to time by the UGC and other concerned statutory bodies, such as the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the Bar Council of India (BCI), the Distance Education Council (DEC), the Dental Council of India (DCI),the Indian Nursing Council (INC), the Medical Council of India (MCI), the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI),etc.
3.3.2. The over-all performance of the off-campus centre(s) and/ or the study centre(s) shall be monitored annually by the UGC or its designated agency. The directions of the UGC for management, academic development and improvement shall be binding.
3.3.3. If the functioning of the said centre(s) remains unsatisfactory, the private university shall be instructed by the UGC to close down the said centre(s), which shall be binding on the university. In such a situation, the interests of the students already enrolled therein shall be protected.
3.3.4. Any off-shore campus(es) in foreign countries shall be opened only after obtaining due permission from the Government of India and also that of the Government of the host country.
3.3.5. In case of off-shore campus(es), the remittance of funds shall be governed by the rules and regulations of the Reserve Bank of India.
3.5 The courses of studies prescribed for a first degree and/ or the post-graduate degree / diploma programmes should have been formally approved by the respective academic bodies of the private university, such as - Board of Studies, Academic Council and Governing/ Executive Council.
3.6. The programmes of study leading to a degree and/or a post-graduate degree/diploma offered by a private university shall conform to the relevant regulations/norms of the UGC or the concerned statutory body as amended from time to time.
3.7. A private university shall provide all the relevant information relating to the first degree and post-graduate degree/diploma programme(s) including the curriculum structure, contents, teaching and learning process, examination and evaluation system and the eligibility criteria for admission of students, to the UGC on a proforma prescribed by the UGC prior to starting of these programmes.
3.8. The UGC on detailed examination of the information made available as well as the representations and grievances received by it from the students as well as concerned public relating to the deficiencies of the proposed programme(s) not conforming to various UGC Regulations, shall inform the concerned university about any shortcomings in respect of conformity to relevant regulations, for rectification. The university shall offer the programme(s) only after necessary rectification.
3.9. The admission procedure and fixation of fees shall be in accordance with the norms/guidelines prescribed by the UGC and other concerned statutory bodies.
The UGC may cause periodic inspection of the private university and its off-campus centre(s), study centre(s), off-shore campus(es) etc., offering its programmes. For this purpose, the UGC may call for all relevant information from the concerned private university, as provided in the UGC (Returns of Information by Universities) Rules, 1979 as amended from time to time.
5. Consequences of violations
5.1. After inspection and assessment of a private university providing first degree and / or post graduate degree/diploma courses, the UGC may indicate to the university any deficiency and non-conformity with the relevant UGC Regulations and give it reasonable opportunity to rectify the same. If the Commission is satisfied that the private university has, even after getting an opportunity to do so, failed to comply with the provisions of any of the Regulations, the Commission may pass an order prohibiting the private university from offering any course for the award of the first degree and /or the post-graduate degree/ diploma, as the case may be, till the deficiency is rectified.
5.2. The UGC may take necessary action against a private university awarding a first degree and / or a post-graduate degree/diploma, which are not specified by the UGC, and inform the public in general through a public notification. A private university continuing such programme(s) and awarding unspecified degree(s) shall be liable for penalty under Section 24 of the UGC Act.
Presumably these are the regulations under which the activities of private universities are to be reviewed by the UGC.