It was a major set back to lakhs of students who have secured Engineering degrees since 2001 through correspondence. The Supreme Court held that the engineering degrees obtained through correspondence courses from deemed universities in the past 16 years is invalid. A bench of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit noted that the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) did not approve distance learning programmes in engineering studies and the approval granted by the Distance Education Council (DEC) for such courses was illegal. The court was hearing a batch of petitions on the validity of correspondence courses of four deemed universities - JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Institute of Advanced Studies in Education in Rajasthan, Allahabad Agricultural Institute and Vinayaka Mission's Research Foundation in Tamil Nadu - which have been providing engineering education through correspondence since 2001 despite AICTE disapproval. The court also barred educational institutions from providing courses in subjects like engineering in the distance education mode.