NEW DELHI: A key suggestion to bring legal education under the purview of the upcoming Higher Education Commission of India, which is to replace the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the AICTE-has been dropped after strong objection from the Bar Council of India and Union Ministry of Law.
Officials in the Union Human Resources Development Ministry also said that the HECI Bill will not be tabled in the upcoming winter session of Parliament, as was planned earlier.
“Quite a few significant changes are to be made to the HECI Bill before it can be taken to the House,” said a senior official, adding, “While it will not regulate legal education, it will have to be aligned with the new National Education Policy.”
The existing version of the HECI was touted to be a bigger regulator governing all areas of higher education, barring medicine.
The current HECI bill suggests that the Commission replace the UGC, AICTE, as well as take over the job of regulating legal education and architecture from the Bar Council of India and the Council of Architecture respectively.
“As the NEP suggests that there should be four different bodies to govern four areas of higher education — academics, regulation, funding and accreditation, we will make required changes to the HECI Bill so that it takes over as the regulator,” another official said.
The clauses to give more autonomy to the states and create a special purpose vehicle, most likely in the form of a society headed by an academician, which will be responsible for disbursal of funds to the universities, are likely to remain. In the proposed commission, there will be representatives from 4 states to be rotated every three years.
The Centre has been stressing that the proposed Commission is meant to promote the autonomy of higher educational institutions, reduce the scope of regulation and eliminate interference in managing higher educational institutions.