The Karnataka State Universities and certain other law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020
- The Karnataka State Universities and Certain Other Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 was promulgated on June 18, 2020. It amends the Karnataka State Universities Act, 2000, and the Karnataka Janapada Vishwavidyalaya Act, 2011. The 2000 Act provides for the establishment, incorporation, and governance of state universities. The 2011 Act provides for the preservation and promotion of study of folk culture in Karnataka. The Ordinance renames certain existing universities and effects other administrative changes.
- Establishment and incorporation of Universities: The 2000 Act establishes the Bengaluru Central University and specifies the list of colleges excluded from its jurisdiction. The Ordinance also renames the University to Bengaluru City University (BCU). It adds the Government Science College (Autonomous), Nrupathunga Road, Bengaluru, to the list of colleges excluded from the jurisdiction of BCU.
- It also establishes the Government Science College as a unitary and non-profit University, called the Nripathunga University. This University will not have powers to admit other educational institutions as affiliate colleges.
- The Ordinance empowers the state government to appoint a Special Officer to take steps to establish a new university. The Special Officer (a Group A officer of senior scale and above) will exercise such powers and functions until the first Vice-Chancellor (VC) is appointed. A senior scale officer belongs to the administrative services and has five or more years of service.
- Distance Learning: The 2000 Act empowers universities to extend the benefit of correspondence or external degree courses to students outside the University area. The Ordinance now permits only the Karnataka State Open University to offer correspondence courses within/outside the university area.
- Officers of the University: Under the 2000 Act Officers of a University include: (i) Chancellor, (ii) Vice-Chancellor, (iii) Deans, and (iv) Registrar, among others. In case of the Maharani Cluster University, Bengaluru (MCU) and the Mandya University, Mandya (MU), the Dean is replaced with the Director of Schools. The Ordinance adds the Nripathunga University to this list. A School refers to departments or centres with similar disciplines grouped together under a Director.
- Vice-Chancellor: The 2000 Act provides for the post, term, and manner of appointment of VCs to universities. The Ordinance adds MCU, and MU to the list of Universities for which the state government shall appoint VCs. It also mandates the first VC of a new university to constitute various authorities such as, the Syndicate, the Academic Council, among others, within a year of being established. The Syndicate is a body that administers funds and properties of the University. The Academic Council controls, regulates, and maintains the standards of instruction, education, and examination of the University.
- Registrar: The 2000 Act provides for a Group-A officer (super time scale) or a faculty of any university (at least five years as professor), to be appointed as the Registrar. A super time scale officer belongs to the administrative services and has 17-20 years of service. The Ordinance now specifies that only an All India Service officer or a Group A Karnataka Administrative Service officer (senior scale and above) will be eligible to be appointed as a Registrar.
- Dissolution or Winding up of the University: The Ordinance bars the distribution of assets of a dissolved/wound up university among the officers of the university or their relatives. It instead provides for the transfer of these assets to another university with similar objects as that of the dissolved/wound-up university.
- Audit of Accounts: The 2000 and 2011 Acts, both, provide for the annual audit of the University accounts to be done by the Controller of State Accounts. The Ordinance amends this to provide that the audit will be done by the Principal Director of the Karnataka State Audit and Accounts Department.
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