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A university cannot declare the degree of a candidate to be unrecognized without any proper basis: High Court of Jammu and Kashmir

A university cannot arbitrarily declare a job candidate’s degree certificate to be unrecognized or invalid without proper basic or material indicating the same. This was held in the judgement passed by a single member bench of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir consisting of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey in the case of Dr Manzoor Ahmad Gatoo v State of Jammu & Kashmir [SWP No. 1512/2017] pronounced on 2nd August 2021.

The petitioner, Dr Manzoor Ahmad Gatoo applied for the post of Assistant Professor Cl. Biochemistry in pursuance to advertisement notice No. 07 of 2016 dated 5th September 2016 which was issued by the respondents. The petitioner has an M. Sc in Biotechnology and a Ph. D in Biochemistry as well as 5 years of teaching experience and 3 years of Sr. Resident-ship in Biochemistry. In addition to this the petitioner claims to have more than 15 international and national publications. However upon receiving the petitioner’s application, the respondent declared that the Petitioner’s Master’s degree was not recognisable and therefore his candidature was outright rejected. The petitioner immediately filed representation before the respondents stating that he had an M. Sc from Aligarh Muslim University which was beyond doubt a recognised university.

The petitioner’s representation was not considered and his name did not figure on the list of candidates who were shortlisted for the interview on grounds that he did not have a recognised Master’s degree. On 1st August 2017, the petitioner filed representation before the Honourable Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir which was duly forwarded to the Respondents for appropriate action. Yet as no action was taken, the petition filed the present suit challenging the impugned action by the respondents in declaring him ineligible to participate in the selection process for the post of Assistant Professor Cl. Biochemistry pursuant to the Advertisement notice dated 5th September 2016. It was been contended by the petitioner that the respondent university rejected the candidature of worthy applicants with the motive to favour some of their blue-eyed candidates. The court issued an order on 3rd of August 2017 directing that an interview be set up for the post of Assistant Professor in Clinical Biochemistry for the petitioner and other deserving candidates, but that the results were to be declared only after the final judgement was passed.

In the final judgement, it was held that “The documents on record supported with the pleadings of the parties make it clear that the Petitioner’s degree of M. Sc. Biotechnology is from a recognized and famous University, i.e., Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, therefore, the Respondents have, without there being any basis/ material, declared the said degree of the Petitioner as not recognized”. Consequently the court concluded “In the above background, the Petition of the Petitioner is allowed and, by a ‘Writ of Certiorari’, the impugned communication dated 1st of November, 2016 is hereby quashed. The Respondents, by a ‘Writ of Mandamus’, are directed to take the selection process in question to its logical conclusion by considering all the eligible candidates, including the Petitioner, in tune with the merit position obtained by the said candidates.”

Click here for the judgement

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