A division bench of the Patna High Court comprising Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Anil Kumar Upadhyaya has recently issued notices to the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Association of Indian Universities (AIU).
The bench was hearing a case titled Manoj Kumar vs Union of India and Ors (LPA No. 927/2017) in an appeal against the judgment of the single judge of the high court.
The core issue in the case revolves around the fact that petitioner Manoj Kumar obtained his PG Diploma from LNM Institute of Economic Development & Social Change, Patna, which is affiliated with Magadh Univeristy and is funded by Bihar in 2-year Post-Graduate Diploma in Personnel Management and Industrial Relation in 1999-2001. Desirous to become an assistant professor, the petitioner appeared for UGC NET-2013 and cleared it. However, after declaration of the result, the UGC scrapped the result of Manoj Kumar reasoning that the diploma obtained by him was not given equivalence by the AIU. Manoj Kumar challenged this vide a writ petition before the high court, which had dismissed it relying upon a 2015 decision by the Kerala High Court (UGC vs Anand J Illickan).
Appearing for the petitioner before the division bench, Advocate Ardhendumauli Kumar Prasad, ably assisted by Advocate Shashi Shekhar and AOR Rajesh Mohan, distinguished the Kerala High Court’s decision with the present case.
It was argued at length that the Kerala High Court did not consider the issue of excessive delegation to the AIU by the UGC and cannot be treated as a binding precedent before the Patna High Court. It was submitted that education being a very important facet of UGC, it is its essential function and cannot be sub-delegated to a private body like the AIU. It was brought to the notice of the court that the AIU is a private society without any express statutory recognition either by the Union of India or Bihar or even by the UGC and, therefore, the UGC has, in violation of settled legal principles, delegated its powers of recognition and granting equivalence to courses to it. It was vehemently argued that this amounts to excessive delegation, which is impermissible and the future of students is being played around with. Additional Solicitor General SD Sanjay, who also appeared in the matter, accepted notice on behalf of the Union of India and the UGC.
After hearing at length and impressed by the submissions made, the high court issued notice to the respondents, including the Union of India, State of Bihar, AIU & UGC, and sought their response. This matter is of high public importance as it will affect lakhs of students willing to pursue the profession of teaching by clearing UGC NET.