With the Delhi University still on a defiant path, the University Grants Commission on Wednesday night gave a fresh ultimatum to it to begin the admission process for the undergraduate classes dumping the controversial four-year course.
After long discussions between DU and UGC officials, the UGC issued the directive in the night in the wake of reservations among the colleges over implementing the three-year programme and starting the admission process.
Notwithstanding the UGC claim that 57 of the 64 colleges have accepted its directive, confusion reigned supreme over the admissions because the colleges felt they need clear cut guidelines from a "competent authority".
In the midst of all these developments, a move was initiated by a group of academicians, said to be supporters of DU Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh, in a bid to break the deadlock. They have proposed a three-year honours programme in place of the four-year course.
Senior HRD ministry officials said that the UGC has issued an ultimatum in the night to DU to start the admission process from tomorrow onwards after rolling back the four-year undergraduate programme.
There was no official reaction from the University but representatives of colleges expressed difficulty in implementing without clearance from the "competent" authority.
"We have agreed to the UGC's order in principle but we cannot move forward without the directive of the university. It is not an individual decision. There are too many steps," said S Lakshmi Devi, Secretary of DU Principals Association.
A defiant DU Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh made no statement but held confabulations with his supporters. One of the academicians involved in the compromise proposal talked to Singh over telephone and suggested that he adopt middle path but the VC continued to be defiant, the academic said.
Ever since UGC directed DU to roll back FYUP and conduct admission for three-year programme, there has been uncertainty over the admission process that involves the fate of over 2.7 lakh students clamouring for 54,000 seats in 64 colleges.
DU Registrar Alka Sharma said that the university has received a "document" from some eminent citizens outlining "concrete" suggestions for the solution of the current situation as it exists.
"While welcoming this initiative, the University is examining in detail the document and is working with the expectation that the admission process shall be able to commence soon," Sharma said.
Opponents of the four-year programme were critical of the Registrar's statement. Nandita Narain, DU Teachers Association President and member of UGC's standing committee dubbed it as "unacceptable".
She criticised the new proposal was "formatted suggestions".
S K Garg, President of DU's Principals' Association, who had announced deferring of the admission process on Monday, said they were waiting for the DU to take a decision on the matter.
"We are waiting for the university to take a decision on whether it wants to go back to the old three-year structure or compress the FYUP into a three-year format. We are waiting for an amendment to the university's ordinance and only then we can go ahead with the admissions," Garg said.
Association Secretary Secretary of the Principals' Association and Principal of Shaheed Rajguru College of Applied Sciences, S Lakshmi Devi said the Academic and
Executive Councils would have to be convened to pass an ordinance for any change in the format of the undergraduate programme.
Asked whether the colleges have gone ahead and complied with the UGC's directive even though there has been no decision taken by DU, he said, "The colleges received a letter from the Registrar informing them about the UGC orders and we inferred that the university was willing to change back to three-year format."
Miranda House's Principal Pratibha Jolly also said that the colleges were bound by the university order.
"We have never claimed that we are autonomous. It has to be a collective decision. We receive our funding from the UGC and we have agreed to comply by its directives but then we need to have unambiguous directions from the competent authority to go ahead with the admissions.
"I believe negotiations are on. We hope that a positive outcome comes out of it as there is a lot at stake," she said.
A day before, principals of all colleges affiliated to DU had decided to defer the admission process that was to start on Tuesday.
"It is very hard to say when the admission process will begin. I am, myself, very anxious. Students who enrolled into four-year undergraduate programme last year come and ask what is going to happen. I have nothing to say," she said.
Garg, however, was more optimistic. "I cannot give a definite time period within which admissions will begin. But I can say that once the university gives its directive, within two days colleges can come out with their cut-off lists."
Deendayal Upadhyaya College principal also dismissed they were under any pressure. "There has been no pressure," he said.
In a letter to the UGC, the colleges have said that in the light of the recent development and keeping in mind the spirit of its communication the colleges have no option but to defer the process of admission till clear-cut guidelines are received from competent authority.