Apex court’s order against TU settles dispute

Chitwan, January 30

The longstanding dispute between Agriculture and Forestry University and Tribhuvan University-affiliated Institute of Forestry over students’ enrolment in Hetauda campus has been resolved, thanks to the verdict of the Supreme Court.

The dispute had arisen after the TU-affiliated Institute of Forestry chose to give continuity in receiving admissions in its Forestry stream even after a separate university — AFU was set up by merging Agriculture Campus Rampur, Chitwan and IoF of Hetauda. Though the TU had stopped entertaining admission in its Agriculture and Veterinary stream in Chitwan’s Rampur since AFU came into being, in Hetauda, however, the university had been accepting admission of students in the forestry stream.

Last year, however, TU had agreed to stop admission in the concerned stream from Hetauda from the next academic year at a meeting of the office bearers of both universities held under the chairmanship of then Education Minister Janardan Sharma.

The issue was revived this year again after TU distributed forms for Hetauda, Kathmandu and Pokhara with the plan to take entrance exam on November 22, in violation of its previous agreement and prompting AFU to file a writ at the apex court.

Hearing on the writ, the SC on November 9 had issued an interim order against the TU to accept admission for Hetauda campus. The order was then challenged by TU, prompting the Supreme Court to issue a verdict recently on January 22 that capped the whole matter by upholding its previous interim order.

A joint bench of Chief Justice Sushila Karki and Judge Dipakraj Joshi had issued the verdict.

Meanwhile, the apex court’s verdict has thrown the students who have already filled the forms for Hetauda campus under TU at the receiving end.

“Accepting admission of students this year was not a big deal as it was done last year too. But the recent verdict of the apex court has got us in confusion as to what to do in the case of students who have already filled the forms,” said Dean Krishnaraj Tiwari of the Pokhara-based Dean Office of the Institute of Forestry, adding 600 students had filled up forms by showing their intention to study in forestry stream at Hetauda Campus this year.

TU and AFU each have been running classes in the forestry stream by opening a quota for 50 students every year.

On his part, AFU registrar Prof Manraj Kolakshapati described their decision to knock the Supreme Court’s door as a compulsion. “Though TU has stopped accepting admission from Rampur, it continued to accept admissions in Hetauda, which was unfair and prompted us to reach out to the court,” he said.