The HRD Ministry has directed the University Grants Commission (UGC) to conduct a fresh inspection of 44 institutions labelled "unworthy" of being given a deemed varsity status by a government panel in 2009.

The status of these varsities across the country has been in limbo ever since, with some institutes seeking legal action.

"The Ministry has written to the UGC asking for a fresh inspection of these universities to judge whether they can be allowed to retain the (deemed varsity) status," a source said.

A body called the Tandon committee, set up by the human resource development ministry in 2009, had examined 126 deemed universities and found 44 of them "unworthy". Another 44 were found deficient on many counts while the performance of 38 was found satisfactory.

The panel recommended the immediate withdrawal of the deemed university status from the institutions found unworthy.

However, some institutions moved court, and the matter is still sub judice.

The Tandon committee had assessed each institute on 45 marks. Institutions that scored less than 15 were labelled unworthy.

These 44 institutions were originally colleges and were later granted deemed university status by the government.