Questioning the practice of treating part-time technical education courses on par with the regular course, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has said that such parity on the face of it seems highly arbitrary in view of the fact that a regular B.Tech. candidate has to undergo an entrance examination whereas there is no such requirement for the weekend or part-time course.
"On top of it, one does not know as to what is the criteria for admission in the Weekend or Part Time courses in the absence of any competitive examination. All this goes to show that it is a tailor-made course for working professional to obtain a degree so that they can overcome the hurdle of the service rules which provide certain special promotional avenues for degree-holders," said the court.
The observations were made by Justice Arun Monga in a case related to the promotion of junior engineers in Haryana. The question before the court was whether the weekend B.Tech. (Civil Engineering) degree programme of Deen Bandu Chhotu Ram University of Science and Technology, Murthal can be considered equivalent to the regular degree even when the varsity did not have approval of AICTE to run the course.
The court ruled that the part-time B.Tech Program lacking the approval of AICTE cannot be treated on par with the regular degree and directed Haryana government to exclude the in-service Junior Engineers, with such degrees, from the zone of consideration of promotion to the position of Sub Divisional Officer under the quota meant for degree holders.
The university itself had realised that weekend course was not in accordance with the AICTE format and thus, decided to change its name to Part-time programme instead. However, the AICTE had refused to grant post-facto approval for it. The university later terminate the program.
Justice Monga in the ruling observed that a part-time course, where classes are conducted either on day to day basis or on alternate days or even in the evening, stands on a much higher footing than a Weekend course, where classes are confined tightly and squeezed for 2 days in a week.
Observing that another aspect which cannot be lost sight of is the limited comprehensive capacity of a human mind, the court said it would be too much to expect and say that a person, who has already been through the rigors of whole time and exhausting work continuously for first 5 days of the week, would on 6th and 7th days of the week, still have the full and normal energy and ability to undergo 2 days of intensive classroom studies in the highly specialized and technical subject of engineering and again get back to work, next day without any break in between and continuous repeat the same year after year for 4 long years.
"In my opinion, all that seems completely against the concept of ‘imparting meaningful education to evolve a healthy mind’. Needless to say, that a fatigued body and stale mind having worked whole time continuously for 5 days and then for the remaining days of the week sandwiched with back to back classes for B.Tech involving intensive studies in the highly technical subject of engineering would hardly be left with any time or energy for self-study required for in depth understanding and appreciation of the course subject," said Justice Monga.
The court said it would at best only lead to a paper degree without there being any real addition to the subject knowledge and mental growth of the person more particularly when the subject of studies is of higher level technical and expert nature requiring constant and focused understanding.
Case Title: Arun Kumar v. State of Haryana & Ors. and Other Related Matters