Kerala High Court | Teaching experience can be gained only after obtaining the essential qualification necessary for the post of professor

Kerala High Court


Kerala High Court: While deciding the petition, the division bench of A.K. Jayasankaran and Mohammed Nias C.P., J., held that teaching experience can only be one that is gained after acquisition of essential qualification required for the post.

In the case at hand the candidature of the petitioner along with the respondents was finalised for promotion to the post of professor. As per the Special Rules a postgraduate degree in Ayurveda in the concerned subject is one of the essential qualifications prescribed for the promotion to the post of professor. Also, the teachers in service who did not possess the postgraduate degree qualification were given five years’ time to acquire the prescribed qualification which was further extended for another 5 years. The respondent obtained her postgraduate degree at the time of her initial appointment as Tutor and the petitioners obtained their postgraduate degree after they were promoted as Associate Professor. The respondent approached Tribunal aggrieved by the decision of Departmental Promotion Committee contending that petitioners were not qualified in terms of the Special Rules for promotion to the post of Professor. The Tribunal held petitioners not qualified for the promotion. The petitioners challenged the order of Tribunal before this court.

The question for consideration before this Court was whether the experience requirement prescribed in the Special Rules for the post of Professor is one that must be gained after obtaining the basic qualification for the post of Professor, namely, a postgraduate degree in the concerned subject?

The Court observed that a reading of the notes below Rule 5 in the Special Rules clearly reveals that a postgraduate degree in the concerned subject was made a compulsory qualification for appointment by promotion to the posts.

The Court noted that, the Medicine Central Council (Minimum Standards of Education in Indian Medicine) Regulations, 1986 (“Regulations, 1986”) clearly mandates that the essential qualification for appointment to the post of Professor, Associate Professor and Assistant Professor is a postgraduate qualification in the subject concerned. It follows therefore that in the absence of such a qualification, the incumbent to the post concerned cannot be seen as legitimately discharging his/her duties in the said post.

The Court further said that while he/she may have obtained a relaxation from the State Government in the matter of obtaining the qualification within a prescribed time limit, it is unambiguously clear that the qualification requirement cannot be dispensed with to continue in the said post. It follows therefore that any experience gained in the post, without having the qualification required for the post, cannot enure the benefit of the incumbent for the purposes of his/her career progression.

The Court further stated as per the Special Rules, the quality and nature of experience must be the same for the entire period of ten years that is stipulated under the Special Rules and five years of such experience must be as Assistant Professor. It is apparent from Regulations, 1986 that five years’ experience as Assistant Professor must be one that is gained after obtaining the postgraduate qualification and it follows that since the experience required for the post is qualitatively to be the same for the entire period of ten years, the entirety of the teaching experience must be one gained after obtaining the postgraduate qualification.

Hence, the Court upheld the order of the Tribunal and held that the teaching experience can only be one that is gained after the acquisition of the essential qualification required for the post of Professor.

[Dr. Asha Sreedhar v. Dr. Shahinamole. S, 2022 SCC OnLine Ker 7024, decided on 20-12-2022]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Counsel for Petitioner:- Senior Advocate O.V.Radhakrishnan, Advocate S.Abhilash, Advocate Reny Anto, Advocate K. Siju, Advocate M.C. Gopi;

Counsel for Respondents:- Advocate Elvin Peter P.J., Advocate T.G.Sunil Pranavam, Advocate P.C.Sasidharan, Advocate Bijoy Chandran, Advocate Pratheesh P.

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