Uttarakhand High Court: Academic Council Has Sole Authority to Decide Equivalence of Subjects for Faculty Appointments

LI Network

Published on: 7 August 2023 at 12:15 IST

The Uttarakhand High Court has ruled that the determination of equivalence of multiple subjects for faculty appointments can only be made by the Academic Council of Universities and cannot be delegated to any other body.

In a case where a college student challenged the appointment of another candidate for the post of Assistant Professor (English) at Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University, the court held that the power to decide the relevance and equivalence of a subject lies solely with the Academic Council.

The petitioner contended that the appointed candidate lacked the required qualifications for the post as she had degrees in “Linguistics” rather than “English,” and that both subjects have different syllabuses in the UGC NET examination.

The court observed that the Central Universities Act, 2009, vests the authority to determine eligibility and qualifications in the Academic Council, which decides the academic policies of the university.

The University argued that the Screening Committee was empowered to determine equivalence, but the court rejected this, stating that the powers vested in the Academic Council cannot be delegated.

It emphasized that such decisions require the expertise and academic background of the Council members and cannot be treated as a ministerial function.

The court criticized the University for bypassing the Academic Council in determining the equivalence of the subjects and quashed the appointment of the candidate with qualifications in “Linguistics.”

It directed the Academic Council to examine whether “English” and “Linguistics” are equivalent or allied subjects and make a reasoned decision within a month.

If the subjects are found equivalent, the appointment will be restored without interruption in service, and if not, the petitioner will be appointed to the post.

Case Title: Ghan Shyam Pal v. Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna University & Anr.

Case No.: Writ Petition (S/B) No. 204 of 2021

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