The Allahabad HC quashed the order of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), denying extension of approval to Integrated Academy of Management And Technology (IAMT) for not submitting occupancy certificate, on account of violation of principles of natural justice.
The Wirt was filed by IAMT, aggrieved by the order of AICTE, dated 30.04.2019, wherein the institution was denied extension of approval for the academic year 2019-20 and was put under the "no admission" category. The order came in light of non-submission of occupancy certificate by the Petitioner.
Occupancy certificate is issued to attest the safety standards of the institution's buildings and also, adherence to the building bye-laws, and conformity with building plans. The same was made mandatory by AICTE for all institutions from the academic year 2017-18.
It was the case of the Petitioner that they had informed AICTE that it had applied for building completion certificate, and the reply of the authorities was awaited. Consequently, it was granted approval for the academic years 2017-18 and 2018-19 without the occupancy certificate. However, they were denied the extension of approval for the year 2019-20 by AICTE, (i) despite the order of the Standing Appellate Committee which recommended extension of approval and (ii) without giving the Petitioner an opportunity of hearing, before the Standing Appellate Committee (Review), which passed the unfavorable order.
The court observed the inconsistent and uncertain criteria on which the approval was declined to the Petitioner. Justice Ajay Bhanot held that it is the prerogative of AICTE, to set the norms for infrastructure, and prescribe the criteria, for ensuring excellence, in higher technical education in the country. However, it has to ensure fairness and transparency in doing so. It must alert the institutions of the eligibility norms prior to consideration of applications for approval, which was not done in this case.
Further, it was held that the order of the Standing Appellate Committee (Review), which was clearly passed in violation of audi alteram partem, one of the principles of natural justice, was arbitrary and illegal. The order was thus quashed and AICTE was directed to consider the matter of extension of approval, afresh.
Arguments for the Petitioner were advanced by Senior Advocate Anoop Trivedi, assisted by Advocate Abhinav Gaur and for the Respondent by Advocates Rohit Pandey and Pranjal Mehrotra.
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