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Jayakumar Assistant Professor-Cum-Assistant Director, Centre For Social Exclusion & Inclusion, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Kochi & Others v/s Dr. Jyothi S. Nair & Others


Company & Directors' Information:- COCHIN CO PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74999KL1963PTC002029

Company & Directors' Information:- SOCIAL INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U72900MH2016PTC284656

Company & Directors' Information:- R. K. SCIENCE CENTRE PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U80903UP2009PTC036726

    WA. Nos. 805 to 807 of 2017 & 1713, 1744 & 1792 of 2018

    Decided On, 16 March 2020

    At, High Court of Kerala

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE A.M. SHAFFIQUE & THE HONOURABLE MRS. JUSTICE MARY JOSEPH

    For the Appearing Parties: George Poonthottam, Sr. Advocate, Raju Joseph, Sr. Advocate, Thomas Abraham, SC, Nisha George, C. Joseph Antony, Kaleeswaram Raj, A. Aruna, Varun C. Vijay, Thomas Abraham, G.S. Reghunath, Advocates.



Judgment Text


Shaffique, J.

1. WA No.1792/2018 is filed by the University of Kerala and its officers challenging the judgment in WP(C) No. 2951/2013. The writ petition is filed by a candidate who applied for the post of Lecturer in Sociology as per notification issued by University of Kerala (hereinafter referred to as 'the University') on 13/6/2011. According to her, though she was qualified for being appointed as a Lecturer as per the specifications in the notification and Regulations prescribed by UGC, she challenged the action of the University in considering the 4th respondent Dr.M.S.Jayakumar for the said post. The contention of the petitioner was that the 4th respondent did not have NET qualification and hence not qualified to be considered for appointment as per the UGC (Minimum qualification for Appointment of Teachers and Other Academic Staff in Universities and Colleges and other Measure for the Maintenance of the Standards in Higher Education) Regulations, 2010. Similar contentions were raised in WP(C) Nos.20055 & 21902/2012. The learned Single Judge based on the judgment of the Full Bench of this Court in Radhakrishnan Pillai v. Travancore Devaswom Board (2016 (2) KLT 245 (FB)] held that the UGC Regulations 2010 is deemed to have come into effect from 18/9/2010 and in so far as NET exemption has been granted in the 2010 UGC Regulations only to those who acquired Ph.D. as per norms, 4th respondent was not qualified merely for the reason that 4th respondent had a Ph.D qualification and therefore he could not have been appointed. Accordingly, a direction had been issued to the University to rework the score sheet after awarding appropriate marks to the petitioners strictly in accordance with UGC Regulations, 2010.

2. The 4th respondent has filed WA No. 805/2017 against the judgment in WP(C) No. 21902/2012, WA No. 806/2017 against WP(C) No. 2951/2013 and WA No. 807/2017 against WP(C) No.20055/2012. WA No. 1713/18 has been filed by University of Kerala and others against the judgment in WP(C) No. 20055/2012 and WA No. 1744/2018 has been filed by them against the judgment in WP(C) No. 21902/2012.

3. One of the contentions urged by the appellants is that the UGC Regulations had not been adopted by the University at the time of issuance of notification inviting applications and therefore, the norms prescribed in the University notification dated 23/10/2007 applies for granting index marks for the selection of teachers in the University departments. It was also contended that against the judgment in Radhakrishnan Pillai's case (supra), the University as well as the affected persons had approached the Apex Court by filing Special Leave Petitions which are pending. When the above appeal came up for hearing, the Apex Court had already approved the judgment in Radhakrishnan Pillai's case (supra) by order dated 17/7/2018. However, the Special Leave Petitions were disposed of by issuing a clarification that the said judgment in Radhakrishnan Pillai's case (supra) dated 23/2/2016 will be applicable only from the date of judgment except in the case of individual parties before the High Court. It was further made clear that in case any University has amended the statutes prior to the date of judgment, the effect of the Regulations will be from the date as indicated in the amendment or the date of the actual order of implementation of the statutes. In so far as this writ petitions were pending before this Court, definitely the petitioners are entitled for the benefit of judgment in Radhakrishnan Pillai's case (supra).

4. As far as the 4th respondent, who is the appellant in WA Nos.805, 806 and 807/17 is concerned, his Ph. D qualification is not in terms with the 2010 Regulations. In the 2010 Regulations, exemption had been granted for Ph.D holders in acquiring NET qualification only when Ph.D degree has been given to them in compliance with Regulations 2009 of UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedures for the award of M.Phil/Ph.D Degree). In a judgment of the Apex Court in State of Madhya Pradesh v. Manoj Sharma and Others [(2018) 3 SCC 329] decided on 25/1/2018, the Apex Court held at paragraphs 16 and 17 as under:-

“16. It has to be noticed that the amendment as made in the minimum qualification, now provides that the exemption from NET shall be given to the PhD degree-holders, only when PhD degree has been awarded to them in compliance with the 2009 Regulations of UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure). The above provision thus, made it mandatory that for Lecturers NET qualification is necessary and exemption shall be granted to those PhD degree-holders who have obtained PhD degree in accordance with the 2009 Regulations of UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure). The purpose and object of the above amendments in both the 2009 Regulations of UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure) as well as the 2009 Regulations of UGC (Minimum Qualifications for Appointment) is not far to seek. There has been challenge to amendments made in the 2009 Regulations of UGC (Minimum Qualifications for Appointment) insofar as it denied the benefit to PhD degreeholders who had obtained PhD prior to 11-7-2009. The writ petitions were filed in different High Courts challenging the Regulations on different grounds including that the Regulations are arbitrary and violative of Article 14 which discriminate the PhD degree-holders who have obtained PhD degree prior to 11- 7-2009 and those who obtained the degree after 11-7-2009 in accordance with the 2009 Regulations of UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure).

17. The challenge to the Regulations was repelled by different High Courts whereas the Allahabad High Court vide its judgment dated 6-4-2012 in Ramesh Kumar Yadav v. University of Allahabad [Ramesh Kumar Yadav v. University of Allahabad, 2012 SCC OnLine All 667 : (2013) 4 All LJ 635] has upheld the challenge. The appeals were filed against the judgment of the Rajasthan High Court [Ravindra Singh Shekhawat v. Union of India, 2012 SCC OnLine Raj 2751 : (2013) 4 RLW 3094] , the Delhi High Court [All India Researchers' Coordination Committee v. Union of India, 2010 SCC OnLine Del 4304 : (2011) 121 DRJ 297] and the Madras High Court [P. Suseela v. UGC, 2010 SCC OnLine Mad 6041 : (2011) 2 CTC 593] by the candidates whose writ petitions were dismissed as well as against the judgment of the Allahabad High Court dated 6-4-2012 [Ramesh Kumar Yadav v. University of Allahabad, 2012 SCC OnLine All 667 : (2013) 4 All LJ 635] , upholding the contention of the candidates. This Court decided all the appeals by its judgment in P. Suseela v. UGC [P. Suseela v. UGC, (2015) 8 SCC 129 : (2015) 2 SCC (L&S) 633 : 7 SCEC 333] . This Court upheld the judgment of the High Courts of Rajasthan [Ravindra Singh Shekhawat v. Union of India, 2012 SCC OnLine Raj 2751 : (2013) 4 RLW 3094] , Madras [P. Suseela v. UGC, 2010 SCC OnLine Mad 6041 : (2011) 2 CTC 593] and Delhi [All India Researchers' Coordination Committee v. Union of India, 2010 SCC OnLine Del 4304 : (2011) 121 DRJ 297] and set aside the judgment of the Allahabad High Court dated 6-4-2012 [Ramesh Kumar Yadav v. University of Allahabad, 2012 SCC OnLine All 667 : (2013) 4 All LJ 635] , upholding that the amendments made in the 2009 Regulations of UGC (Minimum Qualifications for Appointment) were valid and there is a valid classification between the candidates who have obtained degree prior to the 2009 Regulations of UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure) and those who obtained the degree in accordance with the abovesaid Regulation”.

5. Yet another contention urged by the appellants is based on an amendment to the Regulations made as per notification dated 11/7/2016. The Regulations is called as the University Grants Commission (Minimum Qualifications for Appointment of Teachers and other Academic Staff in Universities and Colleges and Measures for the Maintenance of Standards in Higher Education) (4th Amendment) Regulations, 2016. Regulation 3 of the 4th Amendment Regulations, 2016 reads as under:

“3. The proviso prescribed under Regulation 3.3.1, 4.4.1, 4.4.2, 4.4.2.2, 4.4.2.3, 4.5.3 and 4.6.3 in the University Grants Commission (Minimum qualifications for appointment of teachers and other academic staff in Universities and Colleges and other measures for the maintenance of standards in higher education) (3th Amendment) Regulations, 2016 regarding exemption to the candidates registered for Ph.D. programme prior to July 11, 2009 shall stand amended and be read as under:-

“Provided further, the award of degree to candidates registered for the M.Phil/Ph.D programme prior to July 11, 2009, shall be governed by the provisions of the then existing Ordinances/Bylaws/Regulations of the Institutions awarding the degree and the Ph.D candidates shall be exempted from the requirement of NET/SLET/SET for recruitment and appointment of Assistant Professor or equivalent positions in Universities/Colleges/Institutions subject to the fulfillment of the following conditions:-

a) Ph.D. degree of the candidate awarded in regular mode only;

b) Evaluation of the Ph.D. thesis by at least two external examiners;

c) Open Ph.D. viva voce of the candidate had been conducted;

d) Candidate has published two research papers from his/her Ph.D. work out of which at least one must be in a refereed journal;

e) Candidate has made at least two presentations in conferences/seminars, based on his/her Ph.D work.

(a) to (e) as above are to be certified by the ViceChancellor/Pro-Vice-Chancellor/Dean(Academic Affairs)/Dean(University instructions).”

6. By virtue of Regulation 3 aforesaid, the proviso to 3rd Amendment Regulations inter alia provided that those candidates who had registered for M.Phil/Ph.D Programme prior to 11th July, 2009 shall be governed by the provisions of the then existing Ordinances/Bye laws/Regulations of the Institutions awarding the Degree and the Ph.D candidates shall be exempted from the requirement of NET qualification subject to fulfilling th

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e specifications provided in (a) to (e) thereunder. The contention of the counsel for appellants is that this notification has retrospective operation whereas the respondents contended that in so far as in Regulation 1.3 of the Regulation, it has been stated that it shall come into force with immediate effect and from the date of publication in the official gazette, it has only prospective operation. This is a case in which the interview was conducted on 3/8/2012 and the Selection Committee had finalised the selection in the meeting held on 3rd and 4th of August, 2012. What is being considered in the case is with reference to a selection made prior to 2016 (4th Amendment) Regulations coming into force. Under such circumstances, we do not think that the appellants are entitled to claim any benefit based on the 2016 (4th Amendment) Regulations. In the light of the aforesaid proposition of law, we do not think that the learned Single Judge had committed any error in issuing the aforesaid directions by allowing the writ petitions. Since no grounds are made out for interference, writ appeals are dismissed.
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