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Report No. 160

Objects and Reasons of The Act:-

The statement of objects and reasons of the Act are reproduced below from the provisions of the Bill:

"The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) was set upon in 1945 by a Government resolution as a National Expert Body to advise the Central and the State Governments for ensuring the coordinated development of technical education in accordance with approved standards. During the first three decades the Council functioned quite effectively and there was phenomenal development of technical education in this period.

However, in recent years, a large number of private engineering colleges and polytechnics have come up in the complete disregard of the guidelines laid down by the AICTE. Most of these institutions have serious deficiencies in terms of even the rudimentary infrastructure necessary for imparting proper education and training. Barring some exceptions, there is scant regard for maintenance of educational standards.

2. Taking into account the growing erosion of standards, the Council at its meeting held in 1981 came to the conclusion that a stage had been reached when it should be vested with statutory powers to regulate and maintain standards of technical education in the country. In pursuance of these and other recommendations, a National Working Group was set up in November, 1985 to look into the role of the AICTE. The National Working Group recommended the t in order to enable the AICTE to play its role effectively, it shall have to be vested with necessary statutory authority.

The National Policy on Education, 1986 also stipulated that the AICTE will be vested with statutory authority for planning, formulation and the maintenance of norms and standards, accreditation, funding or priority areas, monitoring and evaluation, maintaining parity of certificates and awards and ensuring the coordinated and integrated development of technical and management education.

3. The Bill seeks to provide statutory powers to the All India Council for Technical Education to ensure:

(i) proper planning and coordinated development of the technical education system throughout the country,

(ii) promotion of qualitative improvement of technical education in relation of planned qualitative growth, and

(iii) regulation of the system and proper maintenance of norms and standards.

Accordingly, the power and function assigned to the AICTE, inter alia provide laying down norms and standards for programmes and institutions, giving approval for setting up of technical institutions, prescribing guidelines for admission of students and the charging of fees, and inspecting and evaluating institutions periodically with a view to maintaining standards and to provide recognition or withhold recognition of programmes and institutions.

As part of this overall coordination and development responsibilities, the AICTE will also give grants to institutions for identified development purposes. In addition, the AICTE will promote innovation, research and development, linkages with industry and greater access to technical education by women, handicapped and the weaker sections of the society."

Section 10 occurring in CHAPTER III of the Act sets out the powers and functions of the Council. Since this report is concerned only with clause (k) in section 10, only the relevant portion of section 10 is set out herein below. It reads:

"10. It shall be the duty of the Council to take all such steps as it may think fit for ensuring coordinated and integrated development of technical education and maintenance of standards and for the purposes of performing its functions under this Act, the Council may (k) grant approval for starting new technical institutions and for introduction of new courses or programmes in consultation with the agencies concerned".

(Emphasis laid)

Section 11 empowers the Council to cause inspection of any institutions, university or their departments to ascertain the financial needs of technical institutions and universities and also to ascertain the standards of teaching, examination and research in such institutions. Section 22 confers the rule making power upon the Central Government to carry out the purposes of the Act while section 23 empowers the Council to make regulations for the very same purpose.

It would be evident from a reading of the objects and reasons appended to the Bill, the Preamble to the Act and section 10 of the Act that the primary purpose of the Council is to ensure coordinated and integrated development of technical education and maintenance of standards. This is the oft-repeated theme and objective of Lie Act. The several powers specified in section 10 including the power specified in clause (k) are subsidiary to the said purpose and object. Indeed, it is possible to reach section 10(k) as saying that the power to grant approval for starting new technical institutions, etc., is to be exercised only when it is necessary for ensuring the coordinated and integrated development of technical education and for maintenance of standards.

It is also worth mentioning that the expression "technical education" is not defined in the Act. In the interest of preserving University autonomy and with a view to avoid inconsistency between the Act and the various University Acts in force all over the country, it may be possible to read the expression "technical institution" as not including technical colleges. Be that as it may, the Supreme Court of India has interpreted the said provision in a particular manner and it is the interpretation placed by the Supreme Court on clause (k) of section 10 that has induced the Law Commission to take up this matter suo motu and submit this report suggesting an amendment.

Amendments to the All-India Council for Technical Education Act, 1987 Back

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