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Supreme Court judgement for studied under open university and distance education

26,September, 2010

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IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4173 OF 2008

ANNAMALAI UNIVERSITY REP. BY

REPORTABLE

REGISTRAR

VERSUS

… APPELLANT

SECY. TO GOVT. INFN. & TOURSM

DEPT. & ORS.

WITH

… RESPONDENTS

N. RAMESH

CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 4189-4191 OF 2008

…APPELLANT

VERSUS

SIBI MADAN GABRIEL & ORS.

J U D G M E N T

S.B. Sinha, J.

…RESPONDENTS

1.

2

Interpretation and application of the University Grants Commission

(the  minimum  standards  of   instructions  for   the  grant  of  the   first   degree

through non-formal/distance education in the faculties of Arts, Humanities,

Fine Arts, Music, Social Sciences, Commerce and Sciences) Regulations,

1985   (for   short,   “1985   Regulations”)   framed   by   the   University   Grants

Commission   (for   short,   “UGC”)   in   exercise   of   its   powers   conferred   by

clause   (f)   of   sub-section   (1)   of   Section   26   of   the   University   Grants

Commission Act, 1956 (for short, “the UGC Act”) vis-à-vis the provisions

of the Indira Gandhi National Open University Act, 1985 (for short, “the

Open University Act”) is in question in these appeals.  They arise out of a

common judgment and order dated 4.2.2008 passed by a Division Bench of

the High Court of Judicature at Madras in Writ Appeal Nos. 1221 of 2005

and 82 of 2006 and Writ Petition No. 36307 of 2004.

2.

Indisputably, N. Ramesh (Ramesh) and Sibi Madan Gabriel (Gabriel)

were   candidates   for   appointment   to   the   post   of   Principal   in   Film   and

Television Institute (for short, “the Institute”) of Tamil Nadu.   Gabriel was

appointed temporarily as a ‘Lecturer in Acting’ in the Institute on or about

26.5.1982.  His services were regularized with retrospective effect from the

date   of   his   joining   by  an   order   dated   20.2.1992.     He   was   subsequently

promoted as Head of Section by G.O.Ms. No. 236 dated 17.8.1993.   The

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next avenue of promotion from the post of Head of Section is the post of

Principal in the Institute.  In the year 2000, Ramesh was given the additional

charge to the post of Principal.  Gabriel filed an Original Application before

the Tamil Nadu Administrative Tribunal (for short, “the Tribunal”), which

was marked as O.A. No. 5275 of 2000 questioning the legality of the said

appointment on the ground that Ramesh did not have the requisite essential

educational qualification for the post of Principal.

3.

The Tribunal, by its judgment and order dated 14.8.2000, directed the

State   to   consider   the   objections   of   Gabriel   having   regard   to   the

qualifications   prescribed   for   the   said   post   vis-à-vis   those   possessed   by

Ramesh.  The challenge to the qualification of Ramesh was that he did not

possess   a   basic   graduation   degree   and,   thus,   the   post-graduation   degree

conferred on him by appellant – University is invalid in law.  At that stage,

the   State   appointed   one   Mr.   K.   Loganathan,   which   was   challenged   by

Ramesh   by   way   of   O.A.   No.   2085   of   2003   before   the   Tribunal.     Said

application   was   dismissed   by   the   Tribunal   by   reason   of   an   order   dated

5.1.2004.  Ramesh challenged the said order of the Tribunal by filing a writ

petition   marked   as   Writ   Petition   No.   841   of   2004,   which   had   become

infructuous  as  after   retirement   of   said  Mr.   K.  Loganathan,   Ramesh   was

4

appointed as the Principal by order dated 6.12.2004.  Gabriel challenged the

said appointment of Ramesh by filing Writ Petition No. 36307 of 2004.

4.

Indisputably, during the pendency of the said writ petition, Gabriel

filed W.M.P. No. 43649 of 2004 for stay, which was granted.  Ramesh filed

W.V.M.P. No. 2428 of 2004 for vacating the stay which was rejected by the

learned single judge by order dated 21.6.2005.  Writ appeals were preferred

thereagainst   by   Ramesh   as   also   State   Government   and   the   Director   of

Information and Public Relation, which were marked as Writ Appeal No.

1221 of 2005 and Writ Appeal No. 82 of 2006.  By reason of judgment and

order   dated   14.2.2006,   while   allowing   the   writ   appeals,   writ   petition

preferred   by  Gabriel   was   dismissed   by  the   Division   Bench   of   the   High

Court.

5.

Indisputably, the said  decision  of the  Division  Bench of the High

Court had been challenged in this Court by way of Civil Appeal No. 3178 of

2007,   which   by   reason   of   a   judgment   and   order   dated   20.7.2007   was

disposed   of   by   remanding   the   matter   to   the   High   Court   for   fresh

consideration observing that UGC as well as appellant – University should

be impleaded as parties in the writ petition.

6.

Indisputably,   the   post   of   Principal   in   the   Institute   is   governed   by

Rules made under the proviso appended to Article 309 of the Constitution

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of India.  Rule 4 lays down the qualifications for the said post, which reads

as under:

Method of Recruitment

Promotion

Qualification

i)   a   degree   in   Science   or   Arts   of   any

recognized University

ii)   A   diploma   in   any   branch   of   Film

Technology   awarded   by   any   recognized

Institution in India, and

iii)   Service   as   Head   of   Section   in   any

branch   of   Film   Technology   in   the

Government Institute of Film Technology,

Madras for not less than five years.

Recruitment by Transfer

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i)   a   degree   in   Science   or   Arts   of   any

recognized University

ii)   A   diploma   in   any   branch   of   Film

Technology   awarded   by   any   recognized

Institute in India, and

iii) Experience for a period of not less than

ten years in film Technology, of which at

least  five   years  shall   be  in   teaching   in  a

Film Institute.

7.

Indisputably, Ramesh holds a diploma in Film Technology.  He also

has the requisite experience of five years as Head of Section.  He, however,

has   obtained   M.A.   Degree   in   Open   University   System   (OUS)   in   an

examination held by the appellant – University.

8.

The Division Bench of the High Court by reason of the impugned

judgment allowed the writ petition and disposed of the writ appeals pending

before it holding that Ramesh was not eligible to be considered for the post

of Principal as  the M.A. Degree obtained by him through OUS, without

there being a first (Bachelor’s) degree, was not a valid one.  Consequently,

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the   State   was   directed   to   take   steps   to   fill   up   the   post   of   Principal   in

accordance with law.

9.

Aggrieved thereby and dissatisfied therewith, the University as also

Ramesh are before us.

10.     Mr. K. Parasaran, learned Senior Counsel appearing on behalf of the

appellant – University would submit:

i.

ii.

The   system   of   imparting   education   between   a

conventional  University and an Open University being

different and being governed by the UGC Act and the

Open   University   Act   respectively,   the   High   Court

committed   a   serious   error   in   passing   the   impugned

judgment.

Regulations framed by the UGC both providing for the

eligibility to seek  admission to the Masters’ degree as

also information required to be furnished thereabout by

the State Universities to the UGC, the later must be held

to  have   relaxed   the   conditions  as  no   direction  in   that

behalf has been communicated to the University. In any

event, as Distance Education Council (DEC) of IGNOU,

iii.

iv.

8

being  an  authority  constituted  under Statute  28  of  the

Open University Act, having granted post-facto approval

to  the  courses  of studies  of the  University by a letter

dated 21.7.2008 this Court should set aside the impugned

judgment.

In view of the decision of this Court in Guru Nanak Dev

University vs. Sanjay Kumar Katwal & Anr. reported in

2008 (13) SCALE 760, the decision of the High Court

has been rendered erroneous as therein Master’s degree

under the OUS by the appellant – University has been

held to be valid stating that although one University is

entitled not to recognize the said degree as an equivalent

to the qualification it may have prescribed for eligibility

to a higher course.

Regulations   framed   by   UGC   in   any   event   being   in

conflict with the Open University Act must be held to be

ultra vires the same particularly in view of the fact that

sub-Section (2) of Section 5 of the Open University Act

provides for a non-obstante clause.  In any event, Open

University Act being a later enactment and both statutes

v.

9

having been passed by the Parliament, the provisions of

Open University Act would prevail over the UGC Act.

In any view of the matter as from 1995 till 2005 several

persons have received degrees issued by the University

and if they are disqualified at this stage, a large number

of   persons   would   suffer   irreparable   injury,   this   Court

should issue appropriate directions in this behalf.

11.     Mr. R.V. Kameshwaran, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the

appellant – Ramesh would contend:

i.

Having   regard   to   the   provisions   of   the   UGC   Act   and   in

particular Section 27 thereof providing for delegation of power

to the authority, and as a Notification dated 1.3.1995 has been

issued   directing   that   the   degrees   issued   by   the   Universities

would   stand   automatically   recognized   for   the   purpose   of

employment   to   posts   and   services   under   the   Central

Government subject to approval of the DEC, IGNOU, the High

Court   must   be   held   to   have   committed   a   serious   error   in

holding contra.

ii.

10

From various correspondences, it would appear that the UGC

Regulations   were   amended   only   in   the   year   2003   and   the

Master’s   degree   awarded   upto   30.6.1989   were   treated   to   be

valid.

iii.      Many   established   Universities   like   that   of   Annamalai

University across the country, having conducted such courses

under OUS and such degrees having been accepted by Public

Service Commission, the High Court’s judgment even in equity

should be set aside.

12.       Mr. G.E. Vahanwati, learned Solicitor General who appeared at the

request of the Court would contend that from the Statement of Objects and

Reasons of Open University Act it is evident that the Parliament made a

distinction between formal and non-formal education and UGC Act being

concerned with formal education, IGNOU and particularly the DEC had the

requisite jurisdiction to lay down syllabus as also duration of such courses.

13.     Mr. Amitesh Kumar, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the UGC

would urge:

i.

ii.

11

Regulations framed by the UGC being statutory in nature and

in   any   event   the   constitutionality   of   the   said   Regulations

having not been challenged, the High Court’s judgment must

be held to be wholly sustainable.

In view of the fact that the Vice-Chancellor and the Chairman

DEC of IGNOU having accepted in its letter dated 5.5.2004

that the UGC Regulations shall prevail, the contentions raised

on   behalf   of   the   appellants   must   be   held   to   be   wholly

misconceived.

iii.      As  Regulations  framed   by  the   UGC  are   required  to   be   laid

before the Houses of the Parliament in terms of Section 28 of

the   Act   and   furthermore   the   Ministry   of   Human   Resource

Development   being   a   Nodal   Ministry   of   both   UGC   as   also

IGNOU,   the   Regulations   having   been   made   at   its   instance,

cannot be said to be subservient to the provisions of the Open

University Act.

iv.

UGC having the requisite jurisdiction inter alia to lay down the

minimum standard, Regulations framed by it are binding on all

Universities and, thus, it would not be correct to contend that

12

Open University Act shall prevail over the regulations framed

by the UGC.

14.     Mr. B.D. Sharma, learned counsel appearing  on behalf of the writ

petitioners   –   respondents   submitted   that   the   purported   ex   post   facto

recognition  of  the  M.A.  degrees  granted  by the  DEC is   wholly without

jurisdiction.   There being no conflict between the UGC Act and the Open

University   Act   in   respect   of   laying   minimum   standard,   the   question

declaring the regulations ultra vires of the Open University Act does not

arise.

15.     Entry 66 of List I of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India

reads thus:

“66. Co-ordination   and   determination   of

standards   in   institutions   for   higher   education   or

research and scientific and technical institutions.”

‘Education’ is also in the Concurrent List;  Entry 25 whereof reads as

under:

“25. Education,   including   technical   education,

medical education and universities, subject to the

provisions of entries 63, 64, 65 and 66 of List I;

vocational and technical training of labour.”

13

The Central Government as also the State Governments in exercise of

their   legislative   competence   in   terms   of   Entry   25   are   entitled   to   make

legislations.  Pursuant thereto, and in furtherance thereof, Universities like

IGNOU   had   been   enacted   by   the   Parliament   again   in   exercise   of   its

legislative competence in terms of Entry 25. UGC Act, on the other hand,

comes within the purview of Entry 66 of List I of the Seventh Schedule to

the Constitution  of India.   It was enacted  to make provision  for the co-

ordination   and   determination   of   standards   in   Universities   and   for   that

purpose, to establish a UGC.

UGC was established by the Central Government in terms of Section

4 of the UGC Act.  Powers and functions of the Commission have been laid

down   in   Chapter   III   thereof.     Section   12   provides   for   functions   of   the

Commission; some of the relevant provisions whereof are:

“12.  It   shall   be   the   general   duty   of   the

Commission   to   take,   in   consultation   with   the

Universities   or   other   bodies   concerned,   all   such

steps as it may think fit for the promotion and co-

ordination   of   University   education   and   for   the

determination   and   maintenance   of   standards   of

teaching,   examination   and   research   in

Universities, and for the purpose of performing its

functions under this Act, the Commission may–

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(d)     recommend to any University the measures

necessary for the improvement of University

education   and   advise   the   University   upon

the   action   to   be   taken   for   the   purpose   of

implementing such recommendation;

….

(i)

require a University to furnish it with such

information as may be needed relating to the

financial   position  of  the  University or the

studies in the various branches of learning

undertaken in that University, together with

all the rules and regulations relating to the

standards   of   teaching   and   examination   in

that   University   respecting   each   of   such

branches of learning;”

Section   12A   provides   for   regulation   of   fees   and   prohibition   of

donations in certain cases.  Clause (c) whereof reads as under:

“(c) “prosecution”   in   relation   to   a   course   of

study, includes promotion from one part or

stage of the course of study to another part

or stage of the course of study;”

Section 22 provides for right to confer degrees.  Sub-Section (1) and

reads as under:

15

“(1)  The right of conferring or granting degrees

shall be exercised only by a University established

or   incorporated   by   or   under   a   Central   Act,   a

Provincial   Act   or   a   State   Act   or   an   institution

deemed to be a University under section 3 or an

institution   specially   empowered   by   an   Act   of

Parliament to confer or grant degrees.”

The Commission is empowered to make regulations by notification in

terms of Section 26, inter alia, for the following purposes:

“26(1)(e)   defining   the   qualifications   that   should

ordinarily be required of any person to be

appointed   to   the   teaching   staff   of   the

University, having regard to the branch of

education  in which  he is expected  to give

instructions;

(f)

defining   the   minimum   standards   of

instruction   for the  grant  of any degree by

any University;

(g)     regulating the maintenance of standards and

the   co-ordination   of   work   or   facilities   in

Universities.

(h)     regulating  the establishment of institutions

referred to in clause (ccc) of section 12 and

other matters relating to such institutions;”

16

Section 28 mandates that every rules and regulations must be placed

before each House of Parliament.

16.     Open   University   Act   was   enacted   to   establish   and   incorporate   an

open University at the national level for the introduction and promotion of

open university and distance education systems in the educational pattern of

the country and for the co-ordination and determination of standards in such

systems.

We may also notice the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the said

Act, which reads as under:

Despite   the   tremendous   expansion   of   the

formal   system   of   higher   education   since

independence,   the   pressure   on   the   system   is

continuously   increasing.   Indeed,   the   system   has

not   been   able   to   provide   an   effective   means   to

equalize educational opportunities.  The rigidity of

the system requiring, among others, attendance in

classrooms   have   been   a   disincentive   to   many

learners.   Moreover the combinations of subjects

are   inflexible   and   are   often   not   relevant   to   the

needs   of   the   learners.     This   has   resulted   in   a

pronounced   mismatch   between   the   contents   of

most   programmes   and   the   needs   of   the

development sectors.

The   experience   of   several   developed   or

developing   countries   indicate   that   distance

education programmes can provide an alternative

system   that   will   be   cost-effective   and   relevant,

while   at   the   same   time   ensuring   effective

equalization of opportunities.  Though a diversity

17

of   means,   including   the   utilization   of   modern

communication technology, the distance education

can   provide   more   flexible   and   open   learning

programmes   that   will   suit   the   needs   of   various

categories   of   learners,   especially   the   weaker

sections   of   society.     The   introduction   and

promotion of distance education in the educational

system   of   the   country   is,   therefore,   of   great

significance.”

We may also notice some provisions of the Open University Act.

“2(e) “distance   education   system”   means   the

system of imparting education through any means

of   communication,   such   as   broadcasting,

telecasting,   correspondence   courses,   seminars,

contact programmes or the combination of any two

or more of such means;

xxx

xxx

xxx

3.

Establishment   and   incorporation   of   the

University.- (1)   There   shall   be   established   a

University   by   the   name   of   “the   Indira   Gandhi

National Open University”.

xxx

xxx

xxx

4.

The objects of the University.- The objects

of   the   University   shall   be   to   advance   and

disseminate learning and knowledge by a diversity

of means, including the use of any communication

technology,   to   provide   opportunities   for   higher

education   to  a   larger   segment  of  the  population

and to promote the educational well being of the

community   generally,   to   encourage   the   Open

University and distance education systems in the

educational   pattern   of   the   country   and   to   co-

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ordinate   and   determine   the   standards   in   such

systems, and the University shall, in organizing its

activities, have due regard to the objects specified

in the First Schedule.

5.

Powers   of   the   University.- (1)   The

University   shall   have   the   following   powers,

namely:-

(iii)  to   hold   examinations   and   confer   degrees,

diplomas,   certificates   or   other   academic

distinctions or recognitions on persons who

have pursued a course of study or conducted

research   in   the   manner   laid   down   by   the

Statutes and Ordinances;

xxx

xxx

xxx

(v)     to determine the manner in which distance

education   in   relation   to   the   academic

programmes   of   the   University   may   be

organised;

xxx

xxx

xxx

(xiii)  to recognise examinations of, or periods of

study   (whether   in   full   or   part)   at,   other

universities,  institutions   or other  places  of

higher   learning   as   equivalent   to

examinations   or   periods   of   study   in   the

University,   and   to   withdraw   such

recognition at any time;

xxx

xxx

xxx

19

(xxiv) to   determine   standards   and   to   specify

conditions for the admission of students to

courses   of   study   of   the   University   which

may   include   examination,   evaluation   and

any other method of testing;

xxx

xxx

xxx

xxx

xxx

xxx

5(2)  Notwithstanding anything contained in any

other law for the time being in force, but without

prejudice to the provisions of sub-section. (1), it

shall be the duty of the University to take all such

steps as it may deem fit for the promotion of the

open   university   and   distance   education   systems

and for the determination of standards of teaching,

evaluation and research in such systems, and for

the   purpose   of   performing   this   function,   the

University shall have such powers, including the

power to allocate and disburse grants to Colleges,

whether admitted to its privileges or not, or to any

other university or institution of higher learning,

as may be specified by the Statutes.”

In terms of Section 6 thereof, IGNOU has jurisdiction over the whole

of India. Section 16 lays down the Authorities of the IGNOU, clause (7)

whereof reads as under:

“(7) Such other authorities as may be declared by

the   Statutes   to   be   the   authorities   of   the

University.”

20

Pursuant to or in furtherance of the said power read with Statute 28

and 28(2A), DEC had  been  constituted.    DEC has  been  declared  as  the

authority   of   the   IGNOU.     Whereas   Section   25   provides   for   the   statute

making power, Section 27 provides for the Ordinances making power.   It

has, however, been stated at the Bar that the IGNOU has neither made any

regulations nor any statutes.

The First Schedule appended to the Open University Act provides for

the objects of IGNOU, the relevant provisions whereof read as under:

“1(e) contribute   to   the   improvement   of   the

educational system in India by providing a non-

formal   channel   complementary   to   the   formal

system and encouraging  transfer of credits and

exchange of teaching staff by making wide use

of   texts   and   other   software   developed   by   the

University;

2.

The   University   shall   strive   to   fulfil   the

above objects by a diversity of means of distance

and continuing education, and shall function in

co-operation  with  the existing  Universities  and

Institutions of higher learning and make full use

of   the   latest   scientific   knowledge   and   new

educational technology to offer a high quality of

education which matches contemporary needs.”

17.     Indisputably, UGC in exercise  of the powers conferred upon it by

clause (f) of sub-section (1) of Section 26 of the UGC Act, made the 1985

21

regulations.   A notification in this behalf was published by the UGC on

25.11.1985.  It, however, was given effect from 1.1.1986.

We may notice some of the provisions of 1985 Regulations.

“2.     Admission/Students:-(1)   No   student   shall

be eligible for admission to the 1st Degree Course

through   non-formal/distance   education  unless   he

has   successfully   completed   12   years   schooling

through   an   examination   conducted   by   a

Board/University.     In   case   there   is   no   previous

academic record, he shall be eligible for admission

if he has passed an entrance test conducted by the

University provided that he is not below the age of

21 years on July 1 of the year of admission.

(2)     No student shall be eligible for the award of

the   first   degree   unless   he   has   successfully

completed a three year course; this degree may be

called the B.A./B.Sc./B.Com. (General/ Honours/

Special) degree as the case may be:

Provided that no student shall be eligible to

seek   admission   to   the   Master’s   Course   in   these

faculties,   who   has   not   successfully   pursued   the

first Degree Course of three years duration:

Provided   further   that,   as   a   transistory

measure   where   the   universities   are   unable   to

change  over to  a  three  year degree  course,  they

may award a B.A./B.Sc./B.Com. (Pass) degree on

successful completion of two years course, but that

no   student   of   this   stream   shall   be   eligible   for

admission   to   the   Master’s   course   unless   he   has

undergone   a further  one   year  bridge   course  and

passed  the  same.    The  three  year  degree   course

after 10+2 stage should in no case be termed as

B.A./B.Sc./B.Com. (Pass) degree.”

6.

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Information.-   Every   University   providing

instruction through non-formal/distance education

shall furnish to the University Grants Commission

information   relating   to   the   observance   of   these

Regulations   in   the   form   prescribed   for   the

purpose.  The information shall be supplied to the

University Grants Commission within 60 days of

the close of the academic Year.

7.

The   University   Grants   Commission   shall

have the right to grant relaxation to a university in

regard   to   the   date   of   implementation   or   for

admission to the first or second degree courses or

to give exemption for a specified period in regard

to other clauses in the regulations on the merit of

each case.”

Regulations 6 and 7 were renumbered as Regulations 7 and 8 at a

later stage.

18.     Indisputably, Ministry of Human Resource Development (Department

of Education) is the Nodal Ministry.   The Central Government, therefore,

was aware of the provisions of both the Open University Act as also the

1985 Regulations.

The   Ministry   of   Human   Resource   Development   issued   a

communication  on or about 25.11.1988 stating that the degrees/diplomas

awarded by the Universities established inter alia by a State Legislature will

23

stand automatically recognized for the purpose of employment under the

Central Government

19.     Indisputably, appellant – University established a separate Directorate

for Distance Education Programme offering different courses of studies. It,

however, started functioning in the year 1991.  Offering courses of studies

under the OUS is said to be in line with the one followed by the IGNOU in

terms whereof anyone who had completed Plus Two (+2) or undergone the

preparatory course and passed the written test become eligible to join the

undergraduate programme of his or her choice.   Similarly, those who had

undergone the preparatory course and written test and was of 21 years of

age  and  above  became  eligible  for   undertaking  the   postgraduate  course.

The said programme is said to have been introduced on an experimental

basis.    Similar  programmes  offering  courses  of   undergraduate   and  post-

graduate levels through the OUS were also adopted and followed by various

other Universities in India. It is stated that UGC was being apprised of the

activities   of   the   appellant   -   University   in   regard   to   instructions/courses

offered by it through the non-formal/distance education including the OUS

in  terms  of Regulation  6 of the  1985  Regulations.    The  Government  of

Tamil Nadu allegedly at the request of the appellant – University and on the

basis of the recommendations made by a Committee constituted by them for

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the   aforementioned   purpose   directed   that   the   bachelor   and   postgraduate

degrees and diplomas awarded by the Open Universities be treated on par

with those awarded under regular stream for any appointment to the post in

public service.

20.     Indisputably,   the   fact   that   the   appellant   –   University   had   been

granting  postgraduate degrees  to the  candidates  concerned although they

had not completed three years’ course in violation of the Regulation 2 of the

1985 Regulations came to the notice of the UGC as also IGNOU officials.

A meeting was held in March 2004.  It was agreed in the said meeting that

the admission to the Masters’ Degree Programme under the OUS without

requiring the three years graduate degree qualification be discontinued with

effect from July, 2004 as would appear from a letter issued by the IGNOU

to the Vice-Chancellor of the appellant – University, the relevant portion

whereof reads as under:

“In the meeting, both the undersigned as Chairman

DEC   and   Chairman   UGC   had   emphasized   the

need   to   discontinue   the   Master’s   Degree

Programme   without   requiring   3   years   graduate

degree qualification under Open education stream,

which is in practice in some Universities of Tamil

Nadu.

We   drew   your   kind   attention   to   the   UGC

regulation 1985 regarding the minimum standard

of   instructions   for   the   grant   of   the   first   degree

25

through non-formal/distance education  dated 25th

November,   1985   according   to   which   no   student

shall be eligible to seek admission to the Master’s

Degree   Programme  who   has  not  completed  first

degree course of three years duration.  This clearly

stipulates that the practice of admitting students of

Master’s   Degree   Programme   who   have   not

undergone   3   years   undergraduate   programme

successfully is against the provisions of the above

regulation.   In view of this, it was agreed in the

meeting of March 11, 2004 that new admission to

the   Master’s   Degree   Programme   under   open

education   scheme   as   prevailing   in   some

Universities in Tamil Nadu should be discontinued

with effect from the forthcoming session starting

from July 2004.   I would feel grateful to receive

your confirmation on this matter.”

21.     It, however,  appears   that  the degrees  obtained  after  1.3.1995  upto

20.6.2007 have been recognized by the DEC as would appear from a letter

issued by the said DEC dated 21.7.2008, which reads as under:

“This has reference to your application requesting

for post-facto  recognition  of Distance  Education

Council for programmes offered through distance

mode   by   Directorate   of   Distance   Education   of

your university.

In this connection, we would like to inform you

that  based  on the recommendation  of the expert

committee   that   visited   your   university,   the

Chairman,   Distance   Education   Council   has

accorded post-facto approval to your university for

programmes offered through  distance mode with

effect   from   1st

2006-2007.   Prior  to  March  1995,  there  was  no

system for  giving  recognition  to  correspondence

26

courses   or   distance   education   programmes   and

therefore the issue of post-facto approval for such

courses   during   that   period   does   not   arise.     The

certificates   issued   by   the   university   stand

automatically recognized if they were approved by

the relevant authorities of the university.

Further, we would also like to inform that, it is the

responsibility of the university to follow the norms

prescribed by the concerned regulatory bodies or

seek   their   recognition   for   professional/technical

programme/s   as   per   the   requirements.     Getting

approval   of   concerned   statutory   apex   body   for

relevant   programme/s   will   be   the   sole

responsibility   of   the     university.    The   territorial

jurisdiction for offering distance education would

be as per the Acts and Statutes of your university.

(emphasis supplied)”

22.     The  question  which  in   the  aforementioned   situation   arises   for our

consideration is as to whether the DEC had the requisite jurisdiction to grant

post-facto approval in terms of its letter dated 21.7.2008.

Before, however, determining the aforementioned question, we may

take   note   of   some   correspondences   also   as   declared   by   the   UGC   in   its

counter affidavit.

The UGC in its letter No.F.1-75/91 (CPP) dated 30.12.1991 to the

Registrar of various Universities regarding application of UGC Regulations

27

1985, informed them that for admitting candidates in courses for which the

First degree was the minimum qualification. the universities may not insist

upon   the   three   years   duration   for   the   first   degree   course   in   respect   of

candidates who had obtained their First Degree prior to 1985.

Thereafter, UGC vide its  D.O. letter No. F.11-4/92  (CPP-II) dated

24.04.1996 informed the Universities of its decision regarding the validity

of one  year degree  course  (one-sitting)  equivalent  to  three  years  regular

course of the first degree.  The Commission communicated its decision on

the said matter:

“1.     According   to   the   UGC   Regulations   of

minimum standards, both formal and non-formal

degree courses must be of three years duration.

2.

The   undergraduate   programme   has   been

generally accepted as a three years programme in

most of the universities.   However, it was noted

that in some States, the Universities offer a two-

year   degree   course   after   10+2.     However,   such

students   are   not   eligible   for   admission   to   the

Master’s degree programme.

3.

It was desired that the UGC regulations of

minimum   standards   for   formal   as   well   as   non-

formal education be circulated to the universities

for compliance.

4.

It   was   decided   that   the   requirement   for   a

three years degree course should also be notified.

5.

28

No private candidate should be permitted to

appear for an examination.”

It in the said letter also asked the universities to ensure that the above

mentioned decisions be scrupulously followed by them.

In continuation of the said office letter, the UGC, thereafter vide letter

F.11-4/92 (CPP-II) dated 14.03.1997 informed the Vice Chancellor’s of the

Universities as under.

“The  degrees  of the  candidates  enrolled  for

the one time Bachelor’s degree programme, upto

the year, 1995-96 may be treated  as valid.   The

degree   of   the   candidates   declared   valid   may   be

treated   at   par   with   other   degrees   of   the   same

university for all purposes including admission to

higher degrees and employment”.

Thereafter considering the request and representations received from

several   candidates   regarding   the   validity   of   M.A./M.Sc./M.Com.   degree

(one   sitting),   the   UGC   vide   its   letter   No.   F.1-30/96   (CPP-I)   dated   1st

February, 1998 informed the registrars of various universities that:

“no   university   may   be   allowed   to   enroll

candidates for one sitting of M.A./M.Sc./M.Com.

from   the   academic   year   beginning   in   1998

29

onwards and the students already registered may

be allowed to complete their course by 30th  June,

1999, and the degree awarded to these candidates

upto that period may be treated as valid”.

UGC   despite   requests   and   representations   received   from   various

persons   reiterated   its   earlier   decision   regarding   the     validity   of

M.A./M.Sc./M.Com. Degree (One Sitting) in its letter No. F.1-30/96 (CPP-

II) dated 23.07.1998 to the Registrar of the Universities.

Again after considering a number of representations/complaints from

various persons, the U.G.C. vide its letter dated 30-06-1999 addressed to the

universities reiterated that   the candidates who had completed   their B.A.

under one sitting during the year 1998-99 may be treated as valid.  As per

the letter, the said degrees were to be treated valid for all purposes including

admission to higher degrees and for employment purposes.  It also informed

the universities that any violation of the said direction would be severely

dealt with.

The   question   as   to   whether   Regulation   2   is   repugnant   to   the

provisions of the Open University Act must, therefore, be considered in the

aforementioned context.

30

23.     UGC  Act  was  enacted  by the  Parliament  in  exercise  of  its  power

under Entry 66 of List I of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India

whereas Open University Act was enacted by the Parliament in exercise of

its power under Entry 25 of List III thereof. The question of repugnancy of

the provisions of the said two Acts, therefore, does not arise.  It is true that

the statement of objects and reasons of Open University Act shows that the

formal system of education had not been able to provide an effective means

to   equalize   educational   opportunities.     The   system   is   rigid   inter   alia   in

respect   of   attendance  in   classrooms.     Combinations   of   subjects   are   also

inflexible.

Was the alternative system envisaged under the Open University Act

was in substitution of the formal system is the question. In our opinion, in

the matter of ensuring the standard of education, it is not.  The distinction

between a formal system and informal system is in the mode and manner in

which education is imparted.   UGC Act was enacted for effectuating co-

ordination and determination of standards in Universities.  The purport and

object for which it was enacted must be given full effect.  The provisions of

the UGC Act are binding on all Universities whether conventional or open.

Its powers are very broad.  Regulations framed by it in terms of clauses (e),

(f), (g) and (h) of sub-Section (1) of Section 26 are of wide amplitude.  They

apply   equally   to   Open   Universities   as   also   to   formal   conventional

31

universities. In the matter of higher education, it is necessary to maintain

minimum   standards   of   instructions.     Such   minimum   standards   of

instructions are required to be defined by UGC.  The standards and the co-

ordination of work or facilities in universities must be maintained and for

that purpose required to be regulated.

The powers of UGC under Sections 26(1)(f) and 26(1)(g) are very

broad in  nature.   Subordinate legislation  as  is  well  known  when validly

made   becomes   part  of  the   Act.     We  have  noticed   hereinbefore   that  the

functions of the UGC are all pervasive in respect of the matters specified in

clause (d) of sub-section (1) of Section 12A and clauses (a) and (c) of sub-

section  (2) thereof.   Indisputably, as has  been contended by the  learned

counsel for the appellant as also the learned Solicitor General that Open

University Act was enacted to achieve a specific object.  It opens new vistas

for imparting education in a novel manner.  Students do not have to attend

classes  regularly.   They have  wide options  with  regard  to  the choice  of

subjects   but   the   same,   in   our   opinion,   would   not   mean   that   despite   a

Parliamentary Act having been enacted to give effect to the constitutional

mandate contained  in Entry 66 of List I of the Seventh Schedule to  the

Constitution of India, activities and functions of the private universities and

open universities would be wholly unregulated.

32

It has not been denied  or disputed  before us that in the matter of

laying down qualification of the teachers, running of the University and the

matters provided for under the UGC Act are applicable and binding on all

concerned.   Regulations framed, as noticed hereinbefore, clearly aimed at

the Open Universities.   When the Regulations are part of the statute, it is

difficult to comrehend as to how the same which operate in a different field

would  be  ultra  vires  the  Parliamentary  Act.    IGNOU has  not  made any

regulation; it has not made any ordinance.  It is guided by the Regulations

framed by the UGC.  The validity of the provisions of the Regulations has

not  been  questioned  either by IGNOU or by the appellant  –  University.

From a letter dated 5.5.2004 issued by Mr. H.P. Dikshit, who was not only

the  Vice-Chancellor  but also  the Chairman  of the  DEC of IGNOU it is

evident   that   the   appellant   –   University   has   violated   the   mandatory

provisions of the Regulations.

24.       The   amplitude   of   the   provisions   of   the   UGC   Act   vis-à-vis   the

Universities   constituted   under   the   State   Universities   Act   which   would

include within its purview a University made by the Parliament also is now

no longer a res integra.

33

In Prem Chand Jain  Anr. vs. R.K. Chhabra [(1984) 2 SCR 883], this

court held:

“The legal position is well-settled that the entries

incorporated in the lists covered by Schedule VII

are   not   powers   of   legislation   but   ‘fields’   of

legislation. Harakchand v. Union of India [(1970)

1   S.C.R.   479   at   p.489].   In   State   of   Bihar   v.

Kameswar   [1952]   S.C.R.   889   this   Court   has

indicated   that   such   entries   are   mere   legislative

heads and are of an enabling character. This Court,

has clearly ruled that the language of the entries

should   be   given   the   widest   scope   or   amplitude.

Navinchandra v. C.I.T. [1955] 2 S.C.R. 129 at p.

836.   Each   general   word   has   been   asked   to   be

extended   to   all   ancillary   or   subsidiary   matters

which can fairly and reasonably be comprehended.

See State of Madras v. Gannon Dunkerley [1959]

S.C.R. 379 at p. 391. It has also been held by this

Court in The Check Post Officer and Ors. v. K.P.

Abdulla Bros [(1971) 2 S.C.R. 817] that an entry

confers power upon the legislature to legislate for

matters ancillary or incidental, including provision

for avoiding the law. As long as the legislation is

within the permissible field in pith and substance,

objection would not be entertained merely on the

ground  that  while enacting  legislation,  provision

has been made for a matter which though germane

for the purpose for which competent legislation is

made it covers an aspect beyond it. In a series of

decisions   this   Court   has   opined   that   if   an

enactment   substantially   falls   within   the   powers

expressly conferred by the Constitution upon the

legislature   enacting   it,   it   cannot   be   held   to   be

invalid merely because it incidentally encroaches

on matters assigned to another legislature.”

34

In  University of Delhi  vs.  Raj Singh & ors.  [1994 Suppl (3) SCC

516], this Court held:

“13.   …By   reason   of   entry   66,   Parliament   was

invested   with   the   power   to   legislate   on

“coordination   and   determination   of   standards   in

institutions   for   higher   education   or   reach   and

scientific   and   technical   institutions.”   Item   25   of

List III conferred power upon Parliament and the

State legislatures to enact legislation with respect

to “vocational and technical training on labour”. A

six-Judge  bench  of  this   Court   observed   that  the

validity   of   State   legislation   on   the   subjects   of

University   education   and   education   in   technical

and scientific institutions falling outside Entry 64

of List I as it then read (that is to say, institutions

for   scientific   or   technical   education   other   than

those financed by the Government of India wholly

or in part and declared by Parliament by law to be

institutions   of   national   importance)   had   to   be

judged  having  regard to  whether it impinged on

the field reserved for the Union under Entry 66. In

other  words, the  validity of the  State  legislation

depended   upon   whether   it   prejudicially   affected

the coordination and determination of standards. It

did not depend upon the actual existence of union

legislation   in   respect   of   coordination   and

determination   of   standards   which   had,   in   any

event, paramount importance by virtue of the first

part of Article 254(1).”

In  State   of   T.N.   &   Anr.  vs.  Adhiyaman   Educational   &   Research

Institute & ors.  [(1995) 4 SCC 104], this Court laid down the law in the

following terms:

35

“41.  What emerges from the above discussion is

as follows:

(i)

The expression “coordination” used in Entry

66 of the Union List of the Seventh Schedule to

the Constitution does not merely mean evaluation.

It   means   harmonisation   with   a   view   to   forge   a

uniform pattern for a concerted action according to

a certain design, scheme or plan of development.

It, therefore, includes action not only for removal

of disparities in standards but also for preventing

the   occurrence   of   such   disparities.   It   would,

therefore,   also   include   power   to   do   all   things

which are necessary to prevent what would make

“coordination” either impossible or difficult. This

power   is   absolute   and   unconditional   and   in   the

absence of any valid compelling reasons, it must

be given its full effect according to its plain and

express intention.

(ii)  To the extent that the State legislation is in

conflict   with   the   Central   legislation   though   the

former   is   purported   to   have   been   made   under

Entry   25   of   the   Concurrent   List   but   in   effect

encroaches upon legislation including subordinate

legislation made by the center under Entry 25 of

the Concurrent List or to give effect to Entry 66 of

the Union List, it would be void and inoperative.

(iii)  If   there   is   a   conflict   between   the   two

legislations, unless the State legislation is saved by

the provisions of the main part of Clause (2) of

Article 254, the State legislation being repugnant

to   the   Central   legislation,   the   same   would   be

inoperative.

(iv)  Whether   the   State   law   encroaches   upon

Entry 66 of the Union List or is repugnant to the

36

law   made   by   the   center   under   Entry   25   of   the

Concurrent List, will have to be determined by the

examination of the two laws and will depend upon

the facts of each case.

(v)     When   there   are   more   applicants   than   the

available situations/seats, the State authority is not

prevented from laying down higher  standards  or

qualifications than those laid down by the center

or the Central authority to short-list the applicants.

When   the   State   authority   does   so,   it   does   not

encroach upon Entry 66 of the Union List or make

a law which is repugnant to the Central law.

(vi)    However,   when   the   situations/   seats   are

available   and   the   State   authorities   deny   an

applicant the same on the ground that the applicant

is   not   qualified   according   to   its   standards   or

qualifications,   as   the   case   may  be,   although   the

applicant  satisfies  the  standards  or qualifications

laid   down   by   the   Central   law,   they   act

unconstitutionally.   So   also   when   the   State

authorities derecognise or disaffiliate an institution

for not satisfying the standards or requirement laid

down by them, although it satisfied the norms and

requirements  laid  down by the central authority,

the State authorities act illegally.”

In  State of A.P.  vs.  K. Purushotham Reddy & ors.  [(2003) 9 SCC

564], this Court held:

“19. The conflict in legislative competence of the

Parliament   and   the   State   Legislatures   having

regard to Article  246  of the Constitution of India

must be viewed in the light of the decisions of this

Court which in no uncertain terms state that each

37

Entry   has   to   be   interpreted   in   a   broad   manner.

Both the parliamentary legislation as also the State

legislation must be considered in such a manner so

as to uphold both of them and only in a case where

it is found that both cannot co-exist, the State Act

may  be  declared  ultra  vires.  Clause   I of  Article

246 of the Constitution of India does not provide

for the competence of the Parliament or the State

Legislatures as is ordinarily understood but merely

provide   for   the   respective   legislative   fields.

Furthermore,   the   Courts   should   proceed   to

construe   a   statute   with   a   view   to   uphold   its

constitutionality.”

It was observed:

“20. Entry 66 of List I provides for coordination

and determination of standards inter alia for higher

education. Entry 25 of List III deals with broader

subject, namely, education. On a conjoint reading

of   both   the   entries   there   cannot   be   any   doubt

whatsoever   that   although   the   State   has   a   wide

legislative   field   to   cover   the   same   is   subject   to

entry 63, 64, 65 and 66 of List I. Once, thus, it is

found that any State Legislation does not entrench

upon  the legislative  field  set  apart by Entry 66,

List I of the VII Schedule of the Constitution of

India, the State Act cannot be invalidated.”

UGC Act, thus, having been enacted by the Parliament in terms of

Entry 66 of List  I of the  Seventh  Schedule  to  the  Constitution  of India

would prevail over the Open University Act.

38

25.     With   respect,   it   is   difficult   to   accept   the   submissions   of   learned

Solicitor   General   that   two   Acts   operate   in   different   fields,   namely,

conventional   university   and   Open   University.     UGC   Act,   indisputably,

governs Open Universities also.   In fact, it has been accepted by IGNOU

itself.  It has also been accepted by the appellant – University.

Reliance placed by Mr. K. Parasaran on Guru Nanak Dev University

(supra),   in   our   opinion,   is   not   apposite.     The   question   which   arose   for

consideration therein was as to whether Guru Nanak Dev University was

entitled not to treat the degrees awarded by IGNOU as it is not equivalent to

three years degree course.  Even therein it was noticed:

“…It is true that normally a student cannot enroll

for a Master’s degree course unless he has a basic

Bachelor’s degree in the chosen subject…”

26.       Unfortunately,   attention   of   this   Court   was   not   drawn   to   the

Regulations which are imperative in character.   The question, as noticed

hereinbefore, before this Court therein was the question of equivalence.  It

has   been   noticed   that   the   appellant   –   University   did   not   wish   to   treat

correspondence courses and distance education courses as being the same.

It was stated to be a matter of policy.  Observations which have been made

for holding the degrees granted by appellant – University as valid must be

39

considered   keeping   in   view   the   question   involved   therein,   namely,

equivalence of degree and not any other question.   The questions which

have been posted before us did not fall for its consideration.  The mandatory

regulations were also not brought to its notice.   We, therefore, are of the

opinion that  Guru Nanak Dev University  (supra) has no application to the

facts of the present case.

27.     This Court in  Osmania University Teachers Association  vs.  State of

Andhra Pradesh & Anr. [(1987) 4 SCC 671], held as under:

“14.  Entry   25   List   III   relating   to   education

including  technical  education,   medical  education

and   Universities   has   been   made   subject   to   the

power of Parliament to legislate under Entries 63

to 66 of List I. Entry 66 List I and Entry 25 List HI

should, therefore, be read together. Entry 66 gives

power to Union to see that a required standard of

higher education in the country is maintained. The

standard of Higher Education including scientific

and technical should not be lowered at the hands

of any particular State or States. Secondly, it is the

exclusive   responsibility   of   the   Central

Government   to   co-ordinate   and   determine   the

standards   for   higher   education.   That   power

includes   the   power   to   evaluate,   harmonise   and

secure   proper   relationship   to   any   project   of

national   importance.   It   is   needless   to   state   that

such a coordinate action in higher education with

proper  standards,  is  of paramount  importance  to

national progress. It is in this national interest, the

legislative field in regard to ‘education’ has been

40

distributed   between   List   I   and   List   III   of   the

Seventh Schedule.

15.  The   Parliament   has   exclusive   power   to

legislate with respect to matters included in List I.

The State has no power at all in regard to such

matters.   If   the   State   legislates   on   the   subject

falling within List I that will be void, inoperative

and unenforceable.”

xxx

xxx

xxx

30.  The Constitution of India vests Parliament

with exclusive authority in regard to co-ordination

and determination of standards in institutions for

higher education. The Parliament has enacted the

U.G.C.   Act   for   that   purpose.   The   University

Grants Commission has, therefore, a greater role to

play in shaping the academic life of the country. It

shall not falter or fail in its duty to maintain a high

standard in the Universities. Democracy depends

for its  very life  on  a high  standards  of general,

vocational   and   professional   education.

Dissemination   of   learning   with   search   for   new

knowledge   with   discipline   all   round   must   be

maintained at all costs. It is hoped that University

Grants   Commission   will   duly   discharge   its

responsibility to the Nation and play an increasing

to role bring about the needed transformation in

the academic life of the Universities.”

28.     The  submission   of Mr.   K.  Parasaran   that  as  in  compliance   of  the

provisions   contained   in   Regulation   7,   UGC   had   been   provided   with

information in regard to instructions through non-formal/distance education

41

relating to the observance thereof by itself, in our opinion, would not satisfy

the legal requirement.   It is one thing to say that informations have been

furnished but only because no action had been taken by UGC in that behalf,

the same would not mean that an illegality has been cured.  The power of

relaxation is a statutory power.  It can be exercised in a case of this nature.

Grant   of   relaxation   cannot   be   presumed   by   necessary   implication   only

because   UGC   did   not   perform   its   duties.     Regulation   2   of   the   1985

Regulations being imperative in character, non compliance thereof would

entail its consequences.  The power of relaxation conferred on UGC being

in regard the date of implementation or for admission to the first or second

degree courses or to give exemption for a specified period in regard to other

clauses   in   the   regulation   on   the   merit   of   each   case   do   not   lead   to   a

conclusion that such relaxation can be granted automatically.  The fact that

exemption is required to be considered on the merit of each case is itself a

pointer to show that grant of relaxation by necessary implication cannot be

inferred.   If mandatory provisions of the statute have not been complied

with,   the   law   will   take   its   own   course.     The   consequences   will   ensue.

Relaxation, in our opinion, furthermore cannot be granted in regard to the

basic   things   necessary   for   conferment   of   a   degree.     When   a   mandatory

provision  of  a statute  has  not been  complied   with  by an  Administrative

42

Authority, it would be void.   Such  a void  order  cannot  be validated  by

inaction.

29.       The only point which survives for our consideration is as to whether

the purported post facto approval granted to the appellant – University of

programmes   offered   through   distance   modes   is   valid.     DEC   may  be   an

authority   under   the   Act,   but   its   orders   ordinarily   would   only   have   a

prospective effect.   It having accepted in its letter dated 5.5.2004 that the

appellant – University had no jurisdiction to confer such degrees, in our

opinion,   could   not   have   validated   an   invalid   act.   The   degrees   become

invalidated   in  terms of   the   provisions  of  UGC  ACT.   When  mandatory

requirements have been violated in terms of the provisions of one Act, an

authority under another Act could not have validated the same and that too

with a retrospective effect.  The provisions of UGC Act are not in conflict

with the provisions of Open University Act.  It is beyond any cavil of doubt

that UGC Act shall prevail over Open University Act.

30.       It has, however, been argued that Open University Act is a later Act.

But   we   have   noticed   hereinbefore   that   the   nodal   ministry   knew   of   the

provisions of both the acts.   Regulations were framed almost at the same

time after passing of the Open University Act.  Regulations were framed at a

43

later point of time.  Indisputably, the regulations embrace within its fold the

matters covered under Open University Act also.   Submission of Mr. K.

Parasaran   that   in   terms   of   sub-section   (2)   of   Section   5   of   the   Open

University Act a non obstante  clause has  been  created  and, thus, would

prevail over the earlier Act cannot also be accepted.   Apart from the fact

that in this case repugnancy of two Acts is not in question (in fact cannot be

in question having been enacted by the Parliament and a State in terms of

the provisions of the concurrent list) the non obstante clause contained in

the Open University Act will be attracted provided the statutes operate in

the same field.   UGC Act, as noticed  hereinbefore, operates  in different

field.   It was enacted so as to make provision for the co-ordination and

determination of standards in Universities and for that purpose, to establish

a University Grants Commission.  Its directions being binding on IGNOU,

sub-section (2) of Section 5 of the Open University Act would not make the

legal position otherwise.  Reliance has been placed upon a decision of this

Court in  Indian Express Newspapers Pvt. Ltd.  vs. Union of India [(985) 1

SCC 641), wherein it was opined that subordinate legislation must yield to

plenary legislation.

44

The same legal principle has been stated recently in Bombay Dyeing

&   Mfg.   Co.   Ltd.   (3)  vs.  Bombay   Environmental   Action   Group   &   ors.

[(2006) 3 SCC 434], wherein this Court held:

“104. A policy decision, as is well known, should

not be lightly interfered with but it is difficult to

accept   the   submissions   made   on   behalf   of   the

learned   Counsel   appearing   on   behalf   of   the

Appellants   that   the   courts   cannot   exercise   their

power of judicial review at all. By reason of any

legislation whether enacted by the legislature or by

way   of   subordinate   legislation,   the   State   gives

effect   to   its   legislative   policy.   Such   legislation,

however, must not be ultra vires the Constitution.

A  subordinate   legislation  apart   from  being  intra

vires   the   Constitution,   should   not   also   be   ultra

vires the parent Act under which it has been made.

A   subordinate   legislation,   it   is   trite,   must   be

reasonable and in consonance with the legislative

policy as also give effect to the purport and object

of the Act and in good faith.”

31.       There   is   no   quarrel   with   the   aforementioned   proposition   of   law.

Regulation 2, however, is not contrary to Open University Act and, thus, the

said decisions will have no application.

32.     We, therefore, are of the opinion that the High Court is correct in

rendering the opinion in the manner it did in its judgment.

45

33.     It is also not a case as has been contended by Mr. K. Parasaran as also

Mr.   R.V.   Kameshwaran,   that   we   should   invoke   our   jurisdiction   under

Article 142 of the Constitution of India.  Writ petitioners – respondents has

moved the High Court at the earliest possible opportunity.   It is a case of

promotion.  It is not a case of fresh entry in services.  Our judgment would

not affect the service of appellant Ramesh.  He cannot only be promoted to

the post of Principal of the Institute.  Even in the earlier round of litigation,

the Madras High Court opined:

“9.     When all these reasons have been given by

the Government for appointing the appellant as the

Principal,   we   see   no   arbitrariness   in   the

appointment and in particular, when the stand of

the University Grants Commission is clear that on

the   date   when   the   appellant   obtained   his   M.A.

Degree, it was possible for a person who did not

have the basic degree to obtain the M.A. degree,

the order appointing the appellant as the principal

cannot be quashed.”

In view of a long pending litigation, in our opinion, it will be unjust

to deprive the writ petitioner – respondent from his lawful demand.   We,

therefore,   are   of   the   opinion   that   it   is   not   a   case   where   discretionary

jurisdiction of this Court under Article 142 can be invoked.

46

34.     With the aforementioned reasons, we find no merit in these appeals.

The appeals are dismissed accordingly.  No costs.

……………………………….J.

[S.B. Sinha]

..…………………………..…J.

[Dr. Mukundakam Sharma]

NEW DELHI;

FEBRUARY 25, 2009

Categories: NEW POST, NEWS
  1. R.BAGEERATHI
    11,August, 2012 at 4:12 pm | #1

    i have done my M.Com., MBA & PGDHRM through distance education. I wish to know whether i will be treated equally with one candidate who did his studies in regular stream.
    Kindly let me know the fact

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