This chapter will provide an overview of the overall constitutional and regulatory position pertaining to private higher educational institutions in India, particularly private universities. It will attempt to place such law and regulation in context, in the face of increasing demand for higher education, the need to increase the gross enrolment ratio (GER), as well as the need to increase investments in this sector.

The delineation of the constitutional and overall regulatory position will be significant in attempting to provide a clearer structural understanding of the various particulars of regulation, including the fragmentation of such regulation among multiple regulatory bodies. In such light, attention will also be focused on contemporary questions of autonomy versus centralisation; regulatory oversight versus tightening; optimal principles for such regulation; and possible ways to implement such regulatory principles. The difficult challenge of meeting the three goals of expansion, excellence, and equity together in a complicated regulatory landscape will also be discussed.

Further, attempt will be made to shed some light on particular nuances and law and regulations pertaining to the same. Such parameters include fees, not-for-profit nature of education, admissions, affirmative action, faculty appointments and incentives for growth, internal governance, curricula, infrastructure, finance, jurisdiction, and internationalisation, as well as further incentives for growth and development.

Finally, the chapter will take a look at the changes being brought about by the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and in particular how they will possibly impact private higher educational institutions, especially private universities. In doing so, it will examine the NEP 2020 from the point of view of possible changes required in current legislation to implement such policy. Earlier attempts to bring in such legislative changes will also be briefly discussed along with transitional situations. The role and purpose of private universities to fulfil the goals of higher education, from a skills perspective, as well as to create more humanistic education consistent with constitutional rights and values will also be discussed.