Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
Top Stories

Can Two Degrees Obtained Simultaneously Be Considered For Employment Purposes? Supreme Court To Consider

Sohini Chowdhury
17 Feb 2022 4:25 PM GMT
Can Two Degrees Obtained Simultaneously Be Considered For Employment Purposes? Supreme Court To Consider
x

On Monday, the Supreme Court issued notice in the plea seeking the indulgence of the Apex Court to decide whether two degrees obtained simultaneously, during the same academic year, can be considered for employment purposes. A Bench comprising Justices K.M. Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy entertained an appeal assailing the order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, which dismissed...

On Monday, the Supreme Court issued notice in the plea seeking the indulgence of the Apex Court to decide whether two degrees obtained simultaneously, during the same academic year, can be considered for employment purposes.

A Bench comprising Justices K.M. Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy entertained an appeal assailing the order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, which dismissed the petitioners' plea on the ground that pursuing Master's and Bachelor of Education ("B.Ed.") simultaneously is not permissible as it would affect the validity of the degree and impact their appointment as teachers.

An advertisement was issued by the Professional Examination Board, Madhya Pradesh in September, 2018 for recruitment of teachers in High Schools. The original petitioner, in the main matter, had filled the application form for Biology. She completed her M.Sc (Zoology) through an Open Distance Learning Programme during September-October 2008 to September-October, 2010. She was enrolled as a regular student in B.Ed. Course in 2009 and appeared for examination in 2010.

As per the M.P. School Education Service (Teaching Cadre) Service Conditions and Recruitment Rules, 2018 ("2018 Rules"), the educational qualification required to be recruited as a teacher was Master's Degree in relevant subjects and B.Ed. or its equivalent. An order was issued on 23.06.2020, that a candidate who possesses two degrees in one academic year, will be disqualified. This order was challenged by the petitioners on the following grounds -

  1. It was not notified in terms of Rule 9(4) of the 2018 Rules, which required disqualification to be notified by the Government from time to time, and the same shall be made applicable to the candidates.
  2. The 2018 Rules does not provide any such disqualification.
  3. The petitioners had undertaken one course as a regular degree and the other through an Open Distance Learning Programme.
  4. It violates Article 16 and 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.
  5. 2018 Rules cannot be bypassed by executive instructions.

The High Court noted that in the 2018 Rules the word "degree" had been specifically mentioned. For a degree to be valid it has to fulfil the terms, conditions and guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission ("UGC"), which is the regulatory Authority. The UGC vide notice dated 15.01.2016, had stated that they do not endorse the idea of allowing students to pursue two Degrees simultaneously. Therefore, the Court held that the two degrees so obtained by the petitioners cannot be said to be valid.

Senior Advocate, Mr. Ravindra Shrivastava appearing for the petitioner contended that the reasoning provided by the High Court that UGC does not recognise such degrees is not correct as the UGC had taken a decision to accept the recommendation of an Expert Committee which suggests otherwise. Moreover, he asserted that similarly situated candidates with similar degrees have already been given appointments.

[Case Title: Sushil Kumar Patel Etc. v. State of Madhya Pradesh And Ors. Etc. SLP(C) No. 1746-1763 of 2022]

Click Here To Read/Download Order


Next Story