-Report by Zainab Khan
A bench consisting of SC judges of Justice U.U.Lalit, Justice Ravindra Bhat, Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia hearing a civil appeal in the case of the University of Kerala and ors. Etc. Vs Merlin J.N and anr.etc.etc held that regulations passed by UGC’s have a retrospective effect on the appointment of university Lecturers, which gives them exemption from the compulsory qualification of NET.
Appellant had qualified M.Phil in the year 2000 and completed his Ph.D. in 2006. He was appointed as a lecturer of sociology at the University of Kerala on 4.08.2012. The university provides him exemption from compulsory NET qualification while selecting him. The respondent who was ranked 2 nd in the selection process in the same category, filed a writ petition before the Kerala High court alleging that the appellant’s appointment was not in accordance with UGC, REGULATION 2009.
The HC court ruled on 1.02.2017 that the appellant was not qualified to hold the post of Lecturer, the court relied on the judgments of Suseela Vs. University Grants Commission and Dr. D Radhakrishnan Pillai Vs. The Travancore Devaswom Board.
The counsel for the appellant argues that his appointment was made as per the law, as university has adopted the UGC regulations, 2009 on 23.11.2013 which is after the appointment of the appellant. The counsel further argues that the resolution passed by UGC in its 471 meeting on 12.08.2010 that Ph.D regulation 2004 and UGC regulation
2009 were of prospective nature.Hence appellant’s appointment should be declared as valid.
Counsel for respondent argues that respondent is more capable than appellant as she had qualified for her NET exam in 1998 and done Ph.D. later and since then she is working in Kerala university as a teacher. The counsel further argues that the UGC resolution on 12.08.2010 is contrary to UGC regulation 2010 and the central Government also disagrees with this resolution.
Counsel argues that the appellant should not take benefit of ph.d regulation 2009 and UGC regulation 2016 , as these have prospective effect and he has completed his ph.d before both regulations.
Key highlights of UGC amendments –
- UGC regulation 2000 states NET as an essential condition for appointment as a lecturer in any university. But it exempted candidates who acquired M.Phil or submitted a Ph.D. by 31.12.1993 from NET.
- UGC regulation amendment 2002 gives exemption to candidates from NET who acquired their M.Phil by 31.03.1993 or submitted Ph.D. by 31.12.2002.
- UGC regulation amendment 2009, it rules the minimum condition for appointment of the lecturer as NET but exempted those who acquired their Ph.D. in accordance with Ph.D. regulation 2009.
- UGC regulation amendment 2016, provides candidates having a Ph.D. degree before 11.07.2009 also considered to be appointed as lecturers.
The Hon’ble court has observed how UGC is protecting the candidate and learned teachers by giving them exemption from compulsory NET as much possible as it can.
The court ruled that UGC regulation 2016 is retrospective in nature. The court relied on the judgment of Rafiquennessa v. Lal Bahadur Chetri (dead) through his representative and ors.
The Hon’ble court quashed the earlier orders of the Kerala High court and upheld the appellant’s appointment as valid as per UGC regulation 2016.