New Delhi: Out of 24 universities listed as "fake" on its website, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has taken legal action against only two of them, while being satisfied with serving only "show cause and warning notices" to most of them.

This came in a written reply in Parliament on Thursday by Satya Pal Singh, Minister of state for Human Resource Development.

"The UGC has issued show-cause/warning notices to fake universities and cautioned that running of undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses and giving misleading advertisements shall attract severe action under the provisions of appropriate laws including the UGC Act and the Indian Penal Code," he said.

The two "universities" against which FIR was lodged were Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) in Delhi and Bio-Chemic Education Grants Commission in Nadia, West Bengal.

Though the UGC maintains a list of fake universities on its website, it remains ill-equipped to effectively deter such culprits from going mischievous again. Despite the severity of crime, which has potential to affect thousands of students adversely, the commission is only empowered to levy a penalty of mere Rs 1,000 against these fake institutions, as per the UGC Act.

The UGC is learnt to have been pressuring the MHRD for bringing an amendment to the UGC Act to increase the scope of its punitive powers, but things do not seem to have moved ahead.

Among the universities listed as fake on the UGC website, Uttar Pradesh was found with most (8) number of such universities. Delhi was second with seven such institutions, till April 2018.