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Odishatv Bureau

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court has sent notices to the University Grants Commission, Centre, Odisha and all other parties to file response in connection with a writ petition challenging the constitutional validity of the State government's decision to promulgate amendment to Odisha Universities Act 1989.

The State's apex court has scheduled January 11, 2021, for the next hearing over the issue.

A professor had filed a petition under Article 226 read with 227, Articles 14, 16, 19, and 21 of the Constitution of India challenging the constitutional validity of the changes to the act.

In the plea, the petitioner flouted concerns that it is against the National Education Policy (NEP) and also violates the UGC guidelines.

Despite widespread resentment, Odisha government approved promulgation of ‘The Odisha Universities (Amendment) Ordinance 2020’ to amend the act of 1989 in the month of September 2020. A month later, the bill was passed in Odisha Assembly.

While the government said that the main aim behind the move is to bring all Universities under one Act, opposition parties have been demanding complete withdrawal of the amendment to the act as they alleged that the State Government was trying to snatch the autonomy of higher educational institutions in the State.

Soon after the move by the government triggered a massive outcry, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also sought Union Education Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal’s intervention over the issue.

Pradhan requested Pokhriyal to intervene in the matter keeping in mind the welfare and interest of students, scholars and autonomy of higher education institutions.

The Bill seeks to strip away the autonomy of higher educational institutions in Odisha by bureaucratizing critical aspects of the functioning of universities and crippling its autonomy with the intent of exercising State government’s complete dominance, the Union  Minister noted in his letter.

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