AICTE circular – long battle ahead, no party initiating out-of-court settlement

If the court battle this year between the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and management institutes confused students and delayed admission processes in many schools, expect far more delays and confusion this year. None of the parties engaged in the legal battle over the controversial AICTE circular seems to be in a mood for an out-of-court settlement, but are willing to consider it if the opposite party comes forward.

PaGaLGuY spoke to both AICTE and some of the affected b-schools at the forefront of opposing the circular whether they would prefer an out of court settlement and while all parties said that they would like it, none of the parties are in a mood to make the first move.

It may be recalled that only a few months ago, management schools across the country had formed groups and approached various high courts against the AICTE circular. The Association of Indian Management Schools (AIMS), Educational Promotion Society of India (EPSI) and a group of PGDM b-schools had also approached the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court, in March earlier this year delivered interim relief and allowed PGDM institutes to conduct their own admissions and decide their own fees. The relief was however valid only for the coming academic year, which means that the case will be in progress to decide the fate for the next year admissions.

Dr H Chaturvedi, Director of Birla Institute of Management and Technology (BIMTECH), Noida and Alternate President, Education Promotion Society of India (EPSI) told PaGaLGuY that though his association would welcome an out-of-court settlement with the AICTE, they will not approach the AICTE.

We have a very strong case and are confident of a victory, said Dr Chaturvedi who is proceeding on a series of meetings in various cities to unite different private b-schools to fight the case as a united force.

The last time, there were cases being fought in about nine cities in addition to Delhi (Supreme Court).

Many of the different groups are trying to come together under one umbrella and fight the legal battle. Said Dr Prabir Pal, President of the Association of Indian Management Schools (AIMS), It makes sense for all the units to come together. Finally, it is for the same cause.

Dr Pal also said that he would be happy to consider an out-of-court settlement if the AICTE wants it. But there is no talk on that front as yet, he added.

Meanwhile, President of Consortium of Management Education (COME), a group of b-schools predominantly from Maharashtra, Dr Apoorva Palkar said that he had already filed a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court to get his group’s case attached to the other ones.

Ironically Joint Director, Regional Office (Western), Dr Dayanand Meshram, is also happy with the prospect of an out-of-court settlement but will also not make the first move. If the opposite party is keen on it, we can definitely sit and discuss the matter but we will not make the first move, Dr Meshram told PaGaLGuY. The AICTE joint director said that with regards to admissions, the apex court has already given a directive but matters related to fees and curriculum are yet to be finalized by the court.

The court case delayed the admissions process in many schools this year, besides leaving students confused. Some schools are even starting the academic year later than usual.