Pune: UGC Directs Universities to Appoint Ombudsmen for Grievance Redressal

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Pune, 12th December 2023: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued an order to all universities and higher education institutions nationwide, mandating the appointment of Ombudsmen (Lokpal) for grievance redressal.

Currently, 584 universities have not established grievance redressal committees, and the appointment of ombudsmen through these committees has been stalled. The UGC has stated that a list of non-compliant universities will be released after December 31.

Universities must set up a Grievance Redressal Committee at the university level to address academic and administrative grievances raised by students. In a notification issued on December 5, the UGC emphasized the need for compliance. Despite the notification in April 2023, many central, state, and private universities have not taken action, leading to the UGC’s latest directive.

In a letter, UGC Secretary Prof. Manish Joshi stated, “The Grievance Redressal Committee and Ombudsman appointment was notified in April 2023. Universities that have not yet appointed an ombudsman should complete this process immediately. Additionally, the other provisions of the Redressal of Grievances of Students Regulation 2023 should be applied, and a report should be submitted.”

The UGC retains the authority to take penal action against universities failing to appoint an ombudsman, including withholding grants, declaring ineligibility, and recommending withdrawal of recognition or affiliation for colleges. Some ambiguity exists in Pune universities and colleges regarding the Ombudsman appointment, with some institutions having functioning grievance redressal committees but uncertainty surrounding the appointment of Ombudsman. Universities have indicated that the necessary procedures will be completed soon.