Bombay High Court Imposes ₹10,000 On SVPKM For Hiding Order

Bombay High Court Imposes ₹10,000 On SVPKM For Hiding Order

SVPKM had filed a petition challenging University Grants Commission’s (UGC) public notice banning it from offering open and distance learning online programmes.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Saturday, September 16, 2023, 10:56 PM IST
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Mumbai: The Bombay High Court imposed cost of ₹10,000 on Shri Vile Parle Kelavani Mandal (SVPKM), which runs the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies in Vile Parle, when it sought to withdraw its petition without informing the bench that another bench had refused withdrawal and had expressed inclination to hear the plea on merit.

SVPKM had filed a petition challenging University Grants Commission’s (UGC) public notice banning it from offering open and distance learning online programmes.

Cost imposed for failure to specify background

A division bench of Justices Nitim Jamdar and Manjusha Deshpande imposed the cost on September 11 after noticing that it was listed for hearing before them “for withdrawal” after the trust filed a praecipe (a written request for an action) for the same. However, the praecipe did not mention that the petition was sought to be withdrawn before another division bench headed by Justice Gautam Patel and it “had declined to allow the petition to be withdrawn even if it is to pursue an appellate remedy observing prima facie, it seems there is more to this than meets the eye”.

The court said, “With such a background, it was necessary to specify the background when the prayer for withdrawal was being reiterated. There is no application filed setting out the reason. We disapprove of this conduct.”

Refusing to pass any order, the court said, “We decline to pass any order on such a praecipe as presented and impose costs of Rs. 10,000/- on the Petitioners to be paid to the Legal Services Authority within two weeks from today.”

Challenge to UGC notice

The trust had approached the HC in May challenging the notice issued by the UGC on April 17 to debar/withhold NMIMS from offering any ODL and online program for three academic sessions from January-February 2023 to January- February 2024.

On June 30, the bench of Justices Patel and Neela Gokhale had noted that UGC's reply said without approvals SVPKM commenced courses and set up campuses. “Our apprehension is that a simpliciter withdrawal will result in these transgressions going completely unmonitored,” the judges had said then. They said they will hear the matter on merits and had sought SVPKM’s rejoinder.

Thereafter the matter did not reach for hearing before Justice Patel’s bench and the assignments changed due to which it came up for hearing before a bench headed by Justice Jamdar.

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