Take a broader view
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Take a broader view

J&K public service commission has been in news for their decision to reject the candidature of the PhD degree holders for appointment of Assistant Professor in Colleges on their plea of seeking compliance of UGC Regulations 2009 by asking MSP certificate, date of registration/Award as well as implementation of UGC Regulations by university.

J&K public service commission has been in news for their decision to reject the candidature of the PhD degree holders for appointment of Assistant Professor in Colleges on their plea of seeking compliance of UGC Regulations 2009 by asking MSP certificate, date of registration/Award as well as implementation of UGC Regulations by university.

The decision making powers of the State PSC especially oN interpretations over the requirements of requisitions viz-a-viz compliance of Hr. Education Govt department order No-252-HE of 2012 dated 30.05.2012, SRO -423 dated 23.12.2008 & communication of higher education department No Edu-Coll/Coord/774/2013 dated 22/03/2013 etc., with special reference to UGC regulations 2009 (SRO-124 of 2014 dated 21-04-2014 & some related communications) being contrary to each other is also being debated with respect to the mandate vested with the State PSC, and carries with it many legal questions. But the present matter pertains to the genesis of the issue and parameters framed by UGC with wide implications on the recruitment process of teaching faculty to University /Colleges in the country. The UGC regulations 2009 (minimum standards and procedure for admission/award of Ph.D shortly abbreviated as MSP) provides for maintenance of minimum standards for admission/award of Ph.D degrees by the Universities registered under the Central /State Acts specifying therein the norms, provisions, requirements and procedures to be adopted by the concerned Universities notified on 11th of July 2009 in the Govt Gazette and was endorsed to all concerned universities on March 2011 by UGC through Shri B.K.Singh Deputy secretary for some clarification on para 9. Terms and conditions laid down by JKPSC in its advertisement for Assistant Professors of year 2014 do not mention specifically any criteria to be adopted for short listing of candidates for interview but surprisingly  short listing is being carried on the condition of abandoned Advertisement.

JKPSC have been highlighting the judgement given by the Honb'le Supreme Court in SLP(Civil) Nos,36023-32 of 2010 in case titled P. Suseela and others Vs UGC and others, though the apex Court in its operative part dismisses the judgement given by the Honb'le High Court of Allahabad for validating of Ph.D degrees under Thyagranjan expert Committee Report/ relevant UGC Resolution on the count that UGC itself does not appear to have given affect to this recommendation of the Thyagranjan Committee — we do not understand how the High Court sought to give effect to such recommendations.

The Apex court judgement mainly revolves over the question of law pertaining to Appeals in matter with reference to section 20 & 26 of UGC Act 1956 regarding matter being a question of National policy requiring approval of Central Government on UGC resolutions or otherwise and non approval of UGC Thyagranjan Resolution by MHRD has resulted in Controversy & litigation thereof.

The Apex court in the said judgment observes that by resolutions dated 12th August 2010 and 27th September 2010, the UGC opined that since the regulations are prospective in nature, all candidates having M.Phill degree on or before 31Ist December 2009 and had registered for Ph.D before this date, but are awarded such degree subsequently shall remain exempted from requirement of NET for purpose of appointment as lecturers/Assistant professors, but Central Government by letter dated 3rd November 2010 informed UGC that they are unable to agree with the decision of the commission.

UGC regulations prior to 2009 clearly exempting PhD degree holders from NET/SET and even some regulations after 2009 till date are also prospective in nature and never any issue about their being retrospective arose earlier .

The Govt may also decide if vested rights (referred in SC judgement) of faculty members appointed in State Govt/Universities from 2009 till date on PhD as equivalent to NET/SET do not compromise standards or quality of higher education as envisaged in UGC regulation 2009.

The instant Supreme Court judgement does not negate the expert nature of the UGC for maintaining the minimum standards of excellence in teaching at universities/colleges/institutions governed by the UGC but it endorses the final decision making powers /approval of the central Govt on matters of national policy and thereby compliance of directives issued to UGC by the central Govt in the matters of National Education policy and hence puts to rest the questions raised by some interested quarters about the outcome of Nagvekar committee in a situation with no conflict of interest between UGC & MHRD at present, unlike the reported rift between the HRD ministry and chairman UGC at the moment of Thyagranjan committee report/UGC resolution leading to sufferings for candidates having been awarded PhD degrees before 31.12.2009 for it's non equivalence to NET/SET and put them in a state of shock as after pursuing PhD for five to SIX years they are not eligible for teaching positions, the chance which they are not supposed to get any further in view of percentage of marks granted in Post graduation /Graduation being lesser in the older times (55-75 %) than at present when the % ranges from 60 % to 95% especially in outside State Universities. The Application of amended business rules 51 and 40 by JKPSC also adds to their worry and 90% weight-age to PG marks for shortlisting only gives edge to fresher's at the cost of experienced seniors.

Astonishingly presently JKPSC conducts Screening Test for more than 350 aspirants for even 90 or 100 posts but shortlists even 320 aspirants for 10 posts only directly for interview though proportionately much higher. What is the logic behind this rule and like SSRB why JKPSC should not apply SRO 438 for all subjects/Advertised Posts to ascertain actual content/ efficacy of Aspirants especially when State Government recently notified the convening of written test even for Rehbari Taleem teachers teaching at the primary level.

J&K State (with special Status) by a Policy decision like Govt of Haryana can also exempt Ph.D degree holders who have been awarded the said degree before  notification of UGC regulations 2009 from eligibility of NET/SET for recruitment to teaching positions in undergraduate level as was the precedence previous & a much Hyped reference to a question of law should not become basis for denying the justice to deserving lot by sidelining  question of fact. At least JKPSC can wait for the Nagvekar Committee Report likely expected in near future, as projected by  State universities.     

       It is interesting to note that  JKPSC Business rules (rule 51/40)/ Amendments thereof and short listing criteria to Award 90% weight-age  to  the Post graduation degree marks is  contrary to UGC Regulations 2010 published in Annual Gazette  dated 30th June  2010, Clause 6.1.1 & 6.1.2 as it does not incorporate transparent, objective and credible methodology  of analysis  of  merits and credentials  of  aspirants  based on weight-age given to performance based on Academic  performance indicators (API),which include many factors for  overall assessment/ Grading /short listing  of Aspirants rather than the PG 90% weight-age to agony of  most JKPSC Aspirants. Concerned Authorities including the Higher Education Deptt/PSC are duty bound to comply above said UGC Regulation but till date no such step has been taken by them. However implementation of SRO-438 can serve as a timely solution in the matter to put all problems to rest by conducting written Test afresh on NET/SET pattern for all aspirants with NET/SET/PhD. 

Author works in Higher Education Department, J&K

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