The Centre told the Supreme Court on Monday that it was considering a new system to grade universities and the process of laying down criteria would be finalized within three months.
Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta told a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Vikramajit Sen that the government was holding consultations with various stakeholders including University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) to evolve the criteria for grading.
The Centres stand was opposed by a group of private deemed universities which said the government could not lay down any criteria as there was no such rule and it could not be done through executive action. The bench, after hearing their contention, asked the government to respond to their objections within three weeks.
In the meantime, UGC told the bench that as per the courts direction, it had conducted physical verification of eight universities and found them deficient.
Additional solicitor general Maninder Singh said UGC has given seven of the eight universities one more year to remove the deficiencies in infrastructure and lack of faculty.
The court had asked UGC to inspect Maharishi Markandeshwar University in Ambala, Manav Rachna International University in Faridabad, Institute of Advanced Studies in Education in Churu (Rajasthan), Academy of Maritime Education and Training in Chennai, Bharath Institute of Higher Education & Research in Chennai, Ponnaiyah Ramajayam Institute of Science & Technology (PRIST) in Thanjavur (Tamil Nadu), Vinayaka Missions Research Foundation in Salem (Tamil Nadu) and Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya in Haridwar.
Forty-one deemed universities are under judicial scrutiny for allegedly failing to fulfill various criteria required for recognition. The court had asked UGC to conduct physical verification of eight of them after they agreed to it.