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Supreme Court directs regularisation of teachers at Jamia Milia Islamia

The Supreme Court recently directed the reinstatement of the teachers at Jamia Milia Islamia on a permanent basis who were denied regularization by the University even after University Grants Commission (UGC) letter to university ordering  regularisation of the teachers who were selected through a regular selection process and possessed required qualifications.

The apex court observed that the UGC regulations are binding on the universities.The bench of Justice Abhay S. Oka and Justice Pankaj Mithal mentioned that considering that appellants were appointed after undergoing a regular selection process and they possess relevant qualifications as per the norms of UGC, they should have been continued on the posts merged with the regular establishment of the University instead of adopting the fresh selection procedure.

It added that in the facts of this case, the University’s action of not continuing them and starting a fresh selection process is unjust, arbitrary and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Hence, the employment of the appellants will have to be continued after the merger, the bench ruled.

The teachers asserted appointment on a permanent basis pursuant to the letter sent by UGC to the Jamia mentioning that the teachers appointed through a proper selection process, who fulfilled the educational and other qualifications as laid down by UGC, and whose appointments were approved by the Statutory bodies, can be merged with the regular establishment of the University. Nonetheless, the University didn’t regularize them and instead rolled out a fresh selection procedure.

The appellants moved the Supreme Court after a setback from the Delhi High Court. In the apex court, the University contended that the appellants are not entitled to be regularized as the UGC letter permitting the University to treat the appellants and similarly situated employees as regularly appointed and merge their posts with the regular establishment budget of the University does not have a binding effect on the University.

Dismissing such contention, the Judgment authored by Justice Abhay S Oka stressed on the importance of the position of UGC while placing reliance on the case of Kalyani Mathivanan v. K.V. Jeyaraj and others, where the court observed that the UGC regulations though a subordinate legislation has binding effect on the universities to which it applies and consequence of failure of the university to comply with the recommendations of the Commission, UGC may withhold the grants to the university made out of the fund of the Commission.

The court further noted that it is true that the letter dated 25th June 2019 addressed by the UGC has used the word may. However, in the view of the statutory position of the UGC, there was no reason for the University not to follow what the UGC stated.

Subsequently, the court opined that appellants having been appointed after undergoing a regular selection process and possessing relevant qualifications as per the norms of UGC, should have been continued on the posts merged with the regular establishment of the University instead of adopting the fresh selection procedure.

Consecutively, the appeal was allowed, and the appellants were directed to be reinstated within three months. The court clarified that though the appellants shall be entitled to continuity in service and other consequential benefits, they will not be entitled to pay and allowances for the period for which they have not worked.

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