Appointment of Teachers| Can obtaining a degree in one branch of a subject be considered equivalent to obtaining degree in the subject as a whole? SC answers 

Supreme Court: In the case where the Court was posed with the question as to whether the degrees obtained by the respective petitioners in one branch of History can be said to be obtaining a degree in History, the bench of MR Shah* and BV Nagarathna, JJ has held that once the Expert Committee has opined that the degrees obtained by the candidates in one branch of History cannot be said to be obtaining the degree in History as a whole, the Court cannot go against such finding.

“As per the settled proposition of law, in the field of education, the Court of Law cannot act as an expert normally, therefore, whether or not a student/candidate is possessing the requisite qualification should better be left to the educational institutions, more particularly, when the Expert Committee considers the matter.”

The issue relates to appointment to the post of Postgraduate Trained Teachers (P.G.T.T.) in the State of Jharkhand in different subjects, i.e., Chemistry, Physics, History etc. As per the advertisement, the eligibility criteria for the post of Postgraduate Trained Teachers in the subject History was that a candidate must have obtained a Postgraduate degree with 50% marks in the related subjects (in the subject of History).

In the online applications, it was stated by the candidates that they are having the Postgraduate/Bachelor degree in History and only at the time of verification of the documents, when the respective certificates were produced, the authorities came to know that the candidates have the degrees in one branch of History and not in History as a whole.

The Court noticed that, in the present case, the educational qualifications required had been specifically mentioned in the advertisement. There was no ambiguity and/or confusion in the advertisement providing educational qualification and the post for which the applications were invited (History/Civics). Hence, there cannot be any deviation from the educational qualifications mentioned in the advertisement.

The Court observed that once having found that the respective candidates were not having the requisite qualification as per the advertisement, namely, the Postgraduate/Bachelor degree in History, which was the requirement as per the advertisement and thereafter their candidature was canceled, both the learned Single Judge as well as the Division Bench of the High Court hadrightly refused to interfere with the same.

It is pertinent to note that show-cause notices were issued so that the respective candidates can clarify and satisfy that they are having the requisite qualification of Postgraduate/Bachelor degree in History and after giving them the opportunity, the decision has been taken and that too after obtaining the Expert Committee’s opinion.

Hence, it was held that the candidature/selection of the candidates was rightly cancelled on the ground that they were not having the requisite qualification for the post – Postgraduate/Bachelor degree in History.

[Indresh Kumar Mishra v. State of Jharkhand, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 449, decided on 13.04.2022]


*Judgment by: Justice MR Shah


Counsels

For candidates: Senior Advocate V. Mohana and Advocate Mandavi Pandey

For JSSC: Senior Advocate Sunil Kumar

For State: Advocate Vishnu Sharma

For Impleaders: Senior Advocate Ajit Kumar Sinha

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