On Thursday April 25, the Supreme Court delivered a judgment (>click here to download) that could make the regulatory environment even more complicated than it already is. A bench of Justices BS Chauhan and V Gopala Gowda has held that Masters in Business Administration (MBA) is not a technical course within the definition of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) Act hence the appellant colleges are not required to get AICTEs approval for running the course.
The Association of Management of Private Colleges and some private colleges from Tamil Nadu had appealed to the Supreme Court against a judgement of Madras High Court upholding an AICTE order directing them to seek approval for starting an MBA and MCA course. The AICTE amended its Regulation in 2000 to include MBA and MCA courses in the technical courses list, bringing them under the purview of AICTE. However, the amendment in the Regulation had not been placed before the parliament and this is what led to the final judgment being in favour of the appellants.
Meanwhile the AICTE has said that it will file a review petition in the Supreme Court next week on this order. Commenting on this judgment Dr Francis Julian, a senior advocate of the Supreme Court and an legal advisor to O.P. Jindal Global University as well as other educational institutions said that the order will have serious implications. Now any college affiliated to a university can run an MBA degree course legally. Institutions which are running diploma courses in MBA can also award a degree now.
Experts say that there's a very slim chance that the review petition if any by AICTE will reverse the judgment. The review petition will probably just be more for clarifications and even if it does change it may take another 10 years as was the case in this judgment where the appeal had been made in 2004.
Dr Julian also added that by extended logic of the judgment passed, colleges could argue that they can run engineering, architecture and other such technical courses without AICTE's approval if they are affiliated to any university. It's definitely going to make the regulatory environment messier and lead to mushrooming of colleges.