Undoing the “more than unfair” treatment meted out by the Delhi University to a PhD student, the Delhi High Court has held that there is no requirement of having a compulsory two-year residency period before a PhD student can obtain ad-hoc employment if she or he been permitted to join work by the supervisor and the Departmental Research Committee.
Justice Indermeet Kaur so ruled while deciding the petition of Deepak Kumar Gupta, who had joined PhD course with the Department of Philosophy at DU and then joined as Assistant Professor (ad hoc) at Lakshmibai College within two years of his PhD course.
Deepak was forced to move court after his PhD admission was cancelled the day he submitted his pre-PhD thesis on the ground that he has violated Ordinance VI B of the University of Delhi Act which makes it mandatory from a PhD student to complete two-year residency period before joining any employment.
Deepak’s counsel Anurag Ojha, however, argued that the petitioner had joined PhD course on June 1, 2012, and had been appointed as an Assistant Professor (ad hoc) in Lakshmibai College in July, 2013, for four months. This was after a due permission/NOC has been granted to him from his supervisor. The Departmental Research Committee (DRC) of the Department of Philosophy has also granted him approval for the said appointment and an intimation had been sent to the Board of Research Studies (BRS) for their approval.
He further informed that on February 9, 2015, when Deepak submitted his pre PhD thesis to the satisfaction of his supervisor, he was denied the submission of his industrious research which he had conducted on his pre PhD thesis.
Ojha argued that Sub-Clause (xiii) of Clause 11 of the Ordinance preordains a situation that a candidate during his PhD program may take employment, but this employment must necessarily have to be with the permission of the supervisor and the DRC which shall then be reported to the Board of Research Studies (BRS).
The court was in agreement with his submission that “Sub-clause (xiii) of Clause 11 of the Ordinance speaks of the word ‘reported’ to the Board of Research Studies. It is only an intimation/information which has to be passed on to the BRS. The permission (as is contained in sub-clause xiii) has to be obtained from the Supervisor and the DRC. Once that permission is obtained (as is so in the instant case), the matter only had to be reported/intimated to the BRS. No permission had to be taken from the BRS”.
“Thus, a harmonious reading of the various clauses of Ordinance VI B persuades this Court to hold that sub-clause (xiii) of Clause 11 when read with the other preceding provisions of Ordinance VI B supports the case of the petitioner that where a candidate has obtained the permission of the Supervisor and the DRC and reported the matter to the BRS, he can take on an ad-hoc employment,” ruled Justice Kaur.
The court also noted that “the petitioner had already spent 2- ½ years in his Ph.D program…He has submitted his pre Ph. D thesis on 09.02.2015; it was only on the same day that the petitioner was informed that the Ph. D program which he had joined on 01.06.2012 stood cancelled. Obviously this was a huge set-back for the petitioner. The industrious and pain staking work and research undertaken by the petitioner was put at a complete naught. This is more than unfair”.
During the hearing, the petitioner had argued that there were eight other PhD students like him who have already been granted the PhD degree while his has been cancelled, the Delhi University had argued that a wrong once perpetuated cannot be allowed to be continued.
To this, the court observed, “This Court notes that no wrong has been perpetuated by allowing the aforenoted eight candidates who have submitted their PhD thesis pursuant to which they have been granted their PhD degree. There was no requirement of having a compulsory two year residency period before they could obtain an ad-hoc employment”.
“Accordingly, the writ petition is allowed. The petitioner is permitted to submit his Ph. D thesis and the same shall be considered and answered by the respondent and if in order, the PhD degree shall be awarded to the petitioner,” the court ordered.