Polytechnic Institutions sanctioned by AICTE don’t need approval from State Government for establishment

Kerala High Court: Writ petitions filed by petitioners, who had established Polytechnic colleges in the State after obtaining approval from the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) under the AICTE Act, 1987, after the State refused to grant further approval, were allowed by a Single Judge Bench comprising P.B. Suresh Kumar, J., also directing the State to accord sanction to the petitioners to start the Polytechnic colleges/course.

The contention of the State Government as regards not granting approval for the establishment of Polytechnic colleges despite the approval from the AICTE was that “there wasn’t any appreciable increase in scope for Polytechnic education in the State especially in the self financing sector and that the indiscriminate sanctioning of new self financing institutions would lead to a downward trend in the quality of education in the State.”

The question before the Court was with respect to the scope of the power of the State Government in matters dealing with the applications for grant of approval to start technical institutions/additional courses in the existing technical institutions even after approval from the AICTE. The Court discussed the scheme of the Act and stated that the State Government has to bring all objections to the notice of the AICTE and it is for the AICTE to take a decision as regards the objections. Such objections cannot be the basis for declining approval by the State Government.

It was held that “as far as the scope of polytechnic education is concerned … it has to be examined in the context of the requirements of the country as a whole” and not just the State. Also, given the importance being attributed to polytechnic education for skill development by the Central Government, the Court directed the State government to include names of the institutions in their online prospectus and was allowed to allot 50% seats in these colleges. [Chairman, SCMS College of Polytechnics v. State of Kerala, 2017 SCC OnLine Ker 7841, decided on June 5, 2017]

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