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Deemed Universities Under Ambit of the PC act: Supreme Court

Table of Contents

  • Overview
  • Case Background
  • Highlights of the Verdict
  • Aim of The PC Act


Date of Verdict 28th April
SC Bench Justices N.V Ramana, M.M Shantanagoudar & Ajay Rastoji

Ruling – Deemed universities would come under the ambit of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act 1988

Background of the case

  • The judgement came in response to an appeal filed by the state government of Gujarat against a trustee of Sumandeep Charitable trust, that established Sumandeep Vidyapeeth: A deemed university
  • In 2017, The state police had filed a case of Bribery against the trustee for allegedly demanding money from the parent of a student to let the student write her final examinations.


Highlights of the Verdict

  • Deemed Universities come within the ambit of the term ‘University’ according to Section 2(c)(xi) of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act, 1988
  • Individuals, authorities or officials connected to a deemed university, regardless of their role and designation come under the definition of a ‘public servant’
  • Hence, bribery and corruption in a deemed university can be tried and punished under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988


Aim of the Prevention of Corruption Act

  • The SC Bench remarked that “The object of the PC Act was not only to prevent bribery and corruption, but also to make the same applicable to individuals who might conventionally not be considered public servants”
  • It also noted that keeping that in mind, it cannot be stated that a deemed university or its officials, perform any less or any different a public duty. And hence all persons who are directly or indirectly participating in managing the affairs of any university in any manner shall be covered by the provisions of the PC Act.


Deemed University

  • Deemed University /Deemed to be University is an accreditation awarded to higher educational institutions in India, Conferring the Status of a University.
  • This status is granted by the Department of Higher education
  • According to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD)
    ‘An institution of Higher education, other than Universities, working at a very high standard in specific area of study, can be declared by the central government on the advice of the University Grants Commission (UGC), as ‘Deemed-to-be-University’


Section 2(c)(xi) of Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act, 1988

  • “public Servant” means
  • Any person who is a vice chancellor, or member of any governing body, professor, reader, lecturer or any other teacher or employee, by whatever designation called, of any university and any person whose service has been availed of by a university or any other public authority in connection with holding or conducting examinations.





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