The University Grants Commission (UGC) has released new regulations mandating the formation of Students Grievances Redressal Committees (SGRC) in all Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs), in addition to the appointment of an Ombudsperson at the university level, in order to create an efficient mechanism to address students’ grievances.
The SGRC will have four professors or senior faculty members and a professor serving as chair. Additionally, a student representative will be invited as a special guest based on their accomplishment in extracurricular activities, athletic excellence, or academic achievement.
“The Students’ Grievance Regulations 2023 offer a second forum for the resolution of caste-based discrimination complaints. According to UGC Chairman Prof. M Jagadesh Kumar, “These norms do not take the place of previous regulations/guidelines made/issued by the UGC from time to time to guarantee that no student is discriminated against on the grounds of caste, creed, religion, language, ethnicity, gender, or handicap.
A grieving student may submit an application to all HEIs through an online portal within three months of receiving the directive to do so.
The regulations require the HEI to provide its comments within 15 days of receiving the online complaint in addition to referring it to the relevant SGRC. The SGRC can set a hearing date, and the offended student may show up in person or designate a representative to represent them.
The University’s Ombudsperson, whose appointment is also required, can be contacted about grievances that the Committee is unable to address within the allotted time frame. Student complaints against the university and its affiliated institutions will be resolved by the Ombudsperson.
According to the new regulations, a retired vice chancellor or retired professor who has held a dean or head of department position and has 10 years of teaching experience at State or Central universities, institutions of national importance, or deemed to be universities, or a former district judge, may be appointed as the University’s Ombudsperson for a term of three years or until he or she reaches the age of 70, whichever comes first, may be appointed as the Ombudsperson.
Punitive action, such as withdrawing the declaration of eligibility to receive grants under Section 12B of the Act and suspending authorisation for online/ODL courses, would be taken against the HEIs that do not follow the rules or recommendations of the Ombudsperson or SGRC.