New Delhi: The Delhi high court has asked controversial business school Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) not to publish any advertisements in print, television or online without the court’s approval.
The interim court order came after the University Grants Commission (UGC) submitted an affidavit underlining that advertisements by IIPM could potentially “mislead innocent students and public at large". The UGC, the apex higher education regulator of India, submitted the affidavit in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by B.Mahesh Sarma in his “personal capacity" in 2010 in the Delhi high court.
The court order came on 2 December and a copy is now available in public. Sarma is also the editor of Careers 360 magazine published by former Outlook publisher Maheshwer Peri.
The UGC, which is a party in the case, had constituted a committee to look into the issue, which found that this “practice of issuing such dubious advertisements by IIPM to attract students deceptively should be stopped forthwith". The interim court order also quotes this portion of the UGC observation.
“Arvind K. Nigam, senior counsel for IIPM states that IIPM has received the aforesaid order (UGC order) only on 22 November 2013 and it is considering its legal options. He, however, states that in the meantime, without prejudice to its rights and contentions, IIPM shall not print/publish/insert/issue/place any advertisement either in any newspaper, journal or Television or website without the prior approval of this court," the Delhi high court said.
“The aforesaid statement made by Arvind K. Nigam, senior counsel is accepted by this court and respondent-IIPM is held bound by the same," the interim order added.
Mahesh Sarma said he has requested the court for largely three things: preventing institutions from offering BBA and MBA degrees without necessary approvals; a proper framework on fixing the territorial jurisdiction of educational institutes including universities, and a mandate for framing jurisdiction for foreign tie ups.
“This is a partial victory. It’s an order against IIPM," Sarma said. “I hope the final judgment of the court should bar all such institutions from misleading people," he said, adding that if court steps in, those violating rules will fear that they can be put behind bars.
Promoted by Arindam Chaudhuri, IIPM is a leading advertiser in India but is known for dragging organizations writing against it into legal battles.
In last few years the UGC has published several advertisements saying that IIPM does not have the authority to award BBA (bachelor in business administration) or MBA (masters in business administration degrees).
Meanwhile, the high court has directed UGC to “file an additional affidavit" within 15 days from 2 December and has scheduled the matter for further hearing on 10 February 2014.
Amit Saxena, president, corporate affairs at IIPM, said: “It further strengthens our belief that UGC is a third graded corrupt body which fraudulently called IIPM ‘fake’ University, which was challenged by IIPM, and Hon’ble High Court of Delhi passed an order asking UGC to remove IIPM’s name from their list. There upon UGC shamelessly passed a stupid and vague order stating that IIPM’s ads had the “possibility of misleading students" this despite the fact that IIPM in its submissions to them had even said that IIPM is ready to write anything UGC wanted IIPM to write to clarify IIPM is not an university. More so, our prospectus and websites in any case proudly and clearly mention ‘IIPM is not recognized by any statutory body and students interested in any kind of recognition need not apply’. So we said IIPM would only be proud to mention that we are not under UGC. It is also pertinent to say that earlier, we always used to write in our ads ‘IIPM doesn’t come under UGC’ and it is the same Hon’ble Delhi High Court which in its earlier order in the WP filed by IIPM, had stated against UGC, that, IIPM need not write the same any more in its ads. When this fact was told to the Hon’ble Court and that we already had told, we are ready to write anything UGC wants us to write, the Hon’ble bench said fine then till further arguments IIPM should take permission from the court before releasing its ads, and we more than happily agreed."