The legality of Equivalency between two Educational Degrees: Uttarakhand High Court

The Petitioner has challenged the legality of the order whereby she denied the chance to appear for an interview for the post of Assistant Professor (Political Science) and prayed that the Uttarakhand Public Service Commission should be directed to consider her degree for M.A. in Public Administration as an eligible degree for being appointed for the post of Assistant Professor (Political Science). Two Judge benches consisting of Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma while adjudicating the matter in Minakshi Sharma vs The State of Uttarakhand and Others (S/B No. 67 of 2020) dealt with the issue.

The facts of the case are that the Petitioner had done her graduation with the subjects English, Economics and Political Science in the year 2005. In 2008, she had completed her M.A. in Public Administration. She had also qualified for the Uttarakhand State Eligibility Test (USET) in Political Science. Eventually, she had completed her Ph.D. in Political Science.

The Respondent advertised the post of Assistant Professor in various degree colleges in the State. Since the petitioner was eligible for the post and she had applied for the same. She had appeared for the written exam and cleared the same. However, the Respondent refused the petitioner’s right to appear in the interview on the ground that her M.A. degree was in Public Administration and therefore she did not have the equivalent degree of M.A. in Political Science.

According to the UGC guidelines issued on 04.07.2018, a degree in Public Administration is equivalent to a degree in Political Science. Therefore, she should be deemed to be qualified for appearing in the interview. Moreover, according to the petitioner, she had already completed her Ph.D. in Political Science and according to the result submitted by the Respondent before the court, the Petitioner has already qualified for the entire exam. Therefore, she has a right to be considered for the appointment of Assistant Professor (Political Science).

Upon considering the aforesaid facts, the court dismissed the writ petition and stated that  “consider the petitioner’s case for the post of Assistant Professor (Political Science), if she is found to be eligible and suitable for the said post and to decide the petitioner’s eligibility and suitability within a period of three weeks from the date of receipt of a certified copy of this judgment, and to issue the necessary order”.

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