R. Radhika|Jul 23, 2022
Haryana government alleges 'financial embezzlement' by Ashoka University; institution denies
Haryana's higher education department accused Ashoka University of not admitting enough students from the state or giving them fee concession.
CHANDIGARH: Haryana's higher education department has issued a show cause notice to Ashoka University, accusing it of "financial embezzlement" by not admitting enough students from the state or giving them fee concession as required by law, an allegation the university has denied. The government has claimed the varsity located in Sonepat flouted the Haryana Private Universities Act, 2006. In the notice, it alleged that "there is fudging of figures, making it a blatant case of maladministration and misinformation, causing financial embezzlement".
Ashoka University called the notice "totally misconceived" and contrary to the provisions of the Haryana Private Universities Act, 2006, but said it has responded to the government. It also said the charge of misinformation and embezzlement of funds is "completely unwarranted".
Enrolment of students from Haryana "is low in all courses, which defeats the purpose of the provisions of the Act", the government said. "For instance, the number of reserved seats in UG BA, BSc programme has been shown as 200 out of which only 100 are filled by Haryana students. Remaining seats were not allotted to Haryana students by the university, thus causing injustice to the remaining students," it said.
Under the provisions of the Haryana Private Universities Act, 2006, a minimum of 25 per cent seats for admission in the university shall be reserved for students from the state, and of these seats, 10 per cent shall be reserved for those from Scheduled Castes. "...Whereas the Haryana Private Universities Act, 2006, stipulates that one-fifth of the twenty-five per cent shall be granted full fee concession; two-fifth of the twenty-five per cent shall be granted fifty per cent fee concession and the balance two-fifth of the twenty-five per cent shall be granted twenty-five per cent fee concession. "On the basis of the above mentioned provision and the information provided by the University, it is inferred that 1/5, 2/5, and 2/5 ratio of 25 per cent of Haryana students are not adhered to by the university. Further, during the year 2019-22, only 39 students out of 62 of Haryana quota were given fee concession and 23 students were left out," the notice said.
Violation of private universities act
In view of the facts and circumstances of the case, it has been found that there is a serious lapse on the part of the Ashoka University, Sonepat, and it is clear violation of the Haryana Private Universities Act, 2006, it said. "Thus, in exercise of the power conferred upon me under Section 44 of the above Act, the Vice Chancellor, Ashoka University, Sonepat, is hereby served show cause notice as to explain why the penalty prescribed under the University Act may not be imposed upon the University for the violation… and why an FIR may not be lodged against the university for financial embezzlement?..," the notice issued by Additional Chief Secretary, Higher Education Department, Anand Mohan Sharan said.
When asked for a comment over an email, a university spokesperson said, "The notice is totally misconceived and contrary to the provisions of the Haryana Private Universities Act. The allegations of misinformation and embezzlement of funds are completely unwarranted. "The university has a holistic merit-based admissions process and is funded by philanthropic donations. Further, the university follows the highest standards of institutional governance, backed by stringent audit, and hence there is no question of any financial impropriety in any aspect of its functioning," he said.
"The university has strictly followed the Haryana Private Universities Act's requirements of reservation for students from Haryana. All admitted students who are domicile of Haryana receive fee concessions from Ashoka University as specified in the Act. "In fact, Ashoka University offers generous financial aid to more than 45 per cent of its students, well beyond the requirements of the Haryana Private Universities Act," the university spokesperson said. He said the varsity follows a merit-based admission policy as mandated by the Act and this is true for all applicants. "The university has ensured that no seats were denied to students who met the merit requirements," he said. According to the university, "Seats that were not filled from the Haryana quota have remained largely unfilled, despite a provision for transfer of seats to other categories."
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