Udaipur- In a significant development, a total of 421 universities across the nation find themselves on the defaulter list for failing to adhere to the University Grants Commission (UGC) directive to appoint Ombudspersons as per the UGC (Redressal of Grievances of Students) Regulations of 2023.
Among these, notable institutions 16 key institutions such as Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology (MPUAT)-Udaipur, Kota University, Rajasthan Technical University-Kota, Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Law University- Jaipur are included in the list of defaulters.
Despite receiving instructions and reminders, 16 universities in Rajasthan did not fulfil the mandated requirement, leading to their inclusion in the UGC's defaulter list. Dr. Ajit Kumar Karnataka, Vice Chancellor, MPUAT Udaipur said the UGC had mandated to appoint Lokpals, but at some places they have not been appointed. We will work in this direction very soon.
Among the defaulter universities in Rajasthan are : Agriculture University, Mandore-Jodhpur, Bikaner Technical University, Jagatguru Ramanandacharya Sanskrit University-Jaipur, MBM University-Jodhpur, MPUAT-Udaipur, Maharshi Dayanand University-Ajmer, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya University-Sikar, Rishi Bhrathari Fisheries University-Alwar, Raj Ayurved University- Jodhpur, Raj ILD Skills University- Jaipur, Raj Technical University- Kota, Raj University of Health Science-Jaipur, Raj University of Veterinary and Animal Science -Bikaner, Swami Keshavanand Raj Agriculture University- Bikaner, Kota University
The UGC recently had publicly disclosed a list of 421 universities on its website that are currently in breach of regulations by not appointing Ombudspersons for the resolution of student grievances. This lapse in compliance with the guidelines on student complaint resolution has affected a range of institutions, including renowned names such as Jadavpur University, Anna University, Andhra Pradesh Fisheries University, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (Kainada), Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies, Atal Bihari Bajpayee Vishwavidyalaya, and Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women. Notably, the list encompasses a central university (North Eastern Hill University in Meghalaya), 256 state universities, 162 private universities, and two deemed-to-be universities.
The UGC had mandated the appointment of Ombudsmen in both government and non-government universities to proactively resolve student-related concerns. It is an effort to combat student harassment and ragging issues in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The UGC also mandates the establishment of a grievance redressal committee at the university level to address academic and administrative grievances.
It introduced the UGC (Redressal of Grievances of Students) Regulations in 2023, officially implemented on April 11, 2023. These regulations mandated universities to appoint an ombudsperson, a measure aimed at addressing student grievances and fostering a safer campus environment. Despite repeated instructions, including a letter dated April 12, 2023, and subsequent reminders, a significant number of universities failed to comply with the directive.
In a communication dated December 5, 2023, universities were once again urged to appoint ombudspersons and implement UGC Regulations by December 31, 2023.
However, despite a lapse of nine months, the crucial role of Lokpal (Ombudsman) remained unfulfilled in many institutions, prompting the UGC to take decisive action.
The UGC, led by its commitment to enforce the regulations, is prepared to take punitive action against defaulting universities, including withholding grants and declaring them ineligible for various assistance programs.
By appointing retired Judge Shrikrishna Panse as the Lokpal (ombudsman), SPPU has become the first university in Maharashtra to follow the UGC order. The ombudsman is tasked with addressing 15 types of student grievances. As per a report in Pune Times Mirror, to ensure a transparent and unbiased selection process, a three-member committee was formed to choose the Lokpal.
After evaluating three candidates, Panse, a retired Chief District and Sessions Court Judge, was selected for the role. His appointment was recommended in the meeting of the management committee and subsequently approved by Gosavi. Dr. Vijay Khare, in-charge Registrar of SPPU, said, “The name of Judge Panse was recommended before the management committee of the university. After the committee approved his name, the vicechancellor appointed him.”