IF THE PRESCRIPTION IS THAT THE QUALIFICATION SHALL BE IN ‘THE’ RELEVANT SUBJECT, THEN THE QUALIFICATION SHALL ONLY BE IN THAT SUBJECT :KERALA HIGH COURT
The High Court of Kerala passed a judgement on 3 February, 2023 stating that if the prescription is that the qualification shall be in ‘the’ relevant subject, then the qualification shall only be in that subject. It was stated in the case of Nasafi Rahman M vs Cochin University Of Science And Technology(Writ Appeal No.1500 of 2022)which was passed by the division bench comprising of JUSTICE P.B.SURESH KUMAR and JUSTICE SOPHY THOMAS
FACTS OF THE CASE:
The appellant is the petitioner in the writ petition. The matter relates to the selection for appointment to the post of Assistant Professor in Constitutional Law/Maritime Law in the Cochin University of Science and Technology (the University). Applications were invited by the University from qualified candidates for appointment to the post of Assistant Professor in Constitutional Law/Maritime Law against a vacancy reserved for candidates belonging to Muslim Community. The minimum qualification prescribed in the notification for selection is Master’s degree with 55% marks in the relevant subject. The appellant who holds a Master’s degree in Constitutional Law and Maritime Law with the requisite marks, applied for selection pursuant to the notification. The fourth respondent who holds a Master’s degree in Public Law and Intellectual Property Rights with requisite marks also applied for the said selection. The selection was based on the performance of the candidates in the interview. The appellant challenged the selection of the fourth respondent in the writ petition on the mainly ground that the fourth respondent who does not have a Master’s degree either in Constitutional Law or in Maritime Law is not qualified in terms of the applicable Regulations of the University Grants Commission (the UGC Regulations) and that only candidates who possess a Master’s degree in Constitutional Law or in Maritime Law are eligible to be considered for selection as per the UGC Regulations. It was alleged by the appellant in the writ petition that the fourth respondent has neither studied Maritime Law nor Constitutional Law at the post-graduate level and instead, he studied only some aspects of Constitutional Law as part of the curriculum at the post-graduate level while studying Public Law. The writ petition was disposed of by the learned Single Judge at the admission stage itself directing the University to verify the process adopted by the Selection Committee and ascertain whether it has been done correctly, after affording an opportunity of being heard to the appellant as also to the fourth respondent. The appellant is aggrieved by the said decision of the learned Single Judge and hence, this appeal.
JUDGEMENT OF THE CASE
The selection so made and in setting it aside on the ground of the so called comparative merits of the candidates as assessed by the Court, the High Court went wrong and exceeded its Jurisdiction.” (underline supplied) Reverting to the facts, in the absence of any allegation of malice, according to us, this Court is bound to respect the decision taken by the Committee which scrutinised the applications consisting of expert academicians, that the subject on which the fourth respondent holds a Master’s degree is relevant, even though the view that one who has studied only some aspects of Constitutional Law can also teach Constitutional Law and Maritime Law, appears to us to be slightly illogical. Anyhow, it is unnecessary for us to delve deep into that aspect, in the absence of any challenge to the prescription as regards the minimum qualifications contained in the UGC Regulations as also in the absence of any allegations of mala fide against the members of the Committee which scrutinised the applications. Needless to say, the arguments advanced by the learned counsel for the appellant are only to be rejected.In the aforesaid view of the matter, the court did not find any reason to interfere with the decision of the learned Single Judge. The writ appeal was dismissed.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY ROSHNI SABU, KERALA LAW ACADEMY LAW COLLEGE.