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Sunday, February 26, 2017

whether the qualification of BA Telugu literature as a single subject from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University can be considered as equivalent to bachelor’s degree with Telugu as main subject. We are in agreement with Mr. Rao that the memo dated 03.10.2005 is a clarification pertaining to transfer of teachers/officers and rationalisation of schools. The directions given by the Government to the Director of School Education which are referred to supra would clearly show that the degree issued by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University was considered to be equivalent to any other degree in respect of a selection conducted in the year 2003. If the Government has considered the degree issued by the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University as equivalent to any other degree for DSC- 2003 and permitted appointment of similarly situated persons, there is no reason why the Respondent can be said to be ineligible. There is nothing in the Rules which makes a degree issued by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University which is recognised by the University Grants Commission (UGC) from being considered as equivalent to any other degree.

                                                              Non-Reportable


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CIVIL APPEAL No.3094   of 2017
                  (Arising out of SLP (C) No.26876 of 2016)



STATE OF ANDHRA PRADESH AND ORS.
                                                           .... Appellant(s)
      Versus
SHAIK MAHIBULLA SHARIEF
                                                             ….Respondent(s)




                               J U D G M E N T


L. NAGESWARA RAO, J.
      Leave granted.
      The Appellants were directed  by  the  Andhra  Pradesh  Administrative
Tribunal at  Hyderabad  (hereinafter  referred  to  as  the  ‘Tribunal’)  to
consider the Respondent for appointment  to  the  post  of  Language  Pandit
(Telugu)  Grade-II.   The  High  Court  confirmed  the  said  direction   by
dismissing the Writ Petition filed by the Appellants.  The  Appellants  have
filed this Appeal challenging the correctness of the judgment  of  the  High
Court.
2.    The Appellant-State issued a notification for recruitment of  teachers
in Government schools.  The Respondent applied  for  the  post  of  Language
Pandit (Telugu).  He participated in the selection process and secured  rank
No.1195.  His name  was  included  in  the  provisional  selection  list  of
Language Pandit  (Telugu)  Grade-II  under  the  B.C.  (E)  quota  for  East
Godavari District. There were five posts  earmarked  for  B.C.(E)  category.
The Respondent was one of two candidates selected in the said category.   As
the Respondent was not selected and  appointed,  he  approached  the  Andhra
Pradesh Administrative  Tribunal  by  filing  O.A.  No.10250  of  2012.   An
interim order was  passed  by  the  Tribunal  on  26.12.2012  by  which  the
Appellants were  directed  to  consider  the  case  of  the  Respondent  for
appointment as Language Pandit (Telugu).
3.    The  Respondent  passed  BA  with  History,  Economics  and  Political
Science in the year 1998  and  B.Ed.  with  Telugu  and  Social  Studies  as
methodology subjects  in  the  year  2005.  He  also  passed  BA  in  Telugu
literature as a single subject  from  Dr.  B.R.  Ambedkar  Open  University,
Hyderabad in the year 2007.  He also completed  MA  in  Telugu  in  distance
mode from  Dr.  B.R.  Ambedkar  Open  University  in  the  year  2013.   The
Appellants contended  before  the  Tribunal  that  the  Respondent  was  not
eligible for appointment as he did not  possess  the  requisite  educational
qualifications.  The  Appellants  relied  upon  the  Andhra  Pradesh  Direct
Recruitment for the post of Teachers  (Scheme  of  Selection)  Rules,  2012.
According to Rule 4 (2) (iii) (a)  of  the  said  Rules,  the  qualification
prescribed for the post of Language Pandit (Telugu) is as follows:-
“Must possess a Bachelor’s Degree with Telugu as the main subject or one  of
the three equal optional subjects or Bachelor’s Degree in Oriental  Language
in Telugu (BOL) or its equivalent or a Post Graduate Degree  in  Telugu  and
B.Ed  with  Telugu  as  methodology  or  Telugu  Pandit  Training   or   its
equivalent.”

4.    The Tribunal held that the  Respondent  possessed  B.Ed.  degree  with
Telugu  and  Social  Studies  as  methodology  subjects  and  BA  in  Telugu
literature as  single  subject  from  Dr.  B.R.  Ambedkar  Open  University.
According to the Tribunal, the Respondent was eligible for being  considered
for appointment as Language Pandit (Telugu) as the Rules did not  disqualify
a degree from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University.  On the basis of  the  said
findings, the Tribunal directed the Appellants to consider the case  of  the
Respondent for appointment to the post of Language  Pandit  (Telugu)  Grade-
II.

5.    The Appellants challenged the judgment of the  Tribunal  by  filing  a
Writ Petition which was dismissed by the High Court by  its  judgment  dated
22.04.2016.  The High Court approved the judgment of  the  Tribunal  on  the
ground  that  the  Respondent  possessed  a  degree  exclusively  in  Telugu
literature and it cannot be said that he was not  qualified  when  a  person
who possessed a degree in Oriental Language in Telugu  was  qualified.   The
High Court also found fault with the Government in not seeking  the  opinion
of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University whilst determining the  equivalence  of
the degree granted by it.   The High Court also held that the  Tribunal  had
correctly interpreted the Rules. The correctness  of  the  judgment  of  the
High Court is assailed in this appeal.

6.    The appointment to the post of Language Pandit  (Telugu)  is  governed
by the Andhra Pradesh Direct Recruitment for the post  of  Teachers  (Scheme
of Selection) Rules,  2012.  Rule  4(2)  (iii)  (a)  contemplates  that  the
educational  qualifications  for  appointment  to  the  above  post   is   a
bachelor’s degree in Telugu as main  subject  or  one  of  the  three  equal
optional subjects or bachelor’s  degree  in  oriental  language  in  Telugu,
(BOL) or its equivalent or a post graduate degree in Telugu and  B.Ed.  with
Telugu as methodology or Telugu Pandit  Training  or  its  equivalent.   The
Respondent passed BA with  History,  Economics  and  Political  Science  and
holds a bachelor’s degree in Telugu  as  a  single  subject  from  Dr.  B.R.
Ambedkar Open University.  He also has B.Ed.  with  Telugu  as  methodology.
The question that arises for consideration in this case is whether the  said
bachelor’s degree in Telugu literature as a single  subject  from  Dr.  B.R.
Ambedkar Open University is equivalent to a bachelor’s  degree  with  Telugu
from other Universities.   Reliance is placed by  Ms.Prerna  Singh,  counsel
for the Appellant-State  on  memo  No.18103/Ser.VI-1/2005  dated  03.10.2005
issued by the Government of Andhra Pradesh.  The said  memo  pertains  to  a
qualification issued  with  regard  to  transfer  of  teachers/officers  and
rationalisation of schools in respect of single subject  certificate  course
of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University.  As per para 7 of the said  memo,  the
certificate issued by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University after completion  of
a single subject course was  not  a  degree  and  that  the  single  subject
certificate holders of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University were  not  eligible
for promotion to the post of School Assistant.  As the degree  possessed  by
the Respondent was not equivalent to a degree from  the  other  Universities
as prescribed by the Rules, the Counsel for  the  Appellant-State  submitted
that the Respondent  was  not  eligible  for  appointment  to  the  post  of
Language Pandit (Telugu).  Mr. V.V.S. Rao, learned Senior Counsel  appearing
for  the  Respondent  referred  to  G.O.Rt.No.556,  Education   (SE.SER.VII)
Department dated 04.10.2005 by which the Government permitted the  Director,
School Education, Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad to appoint candidates  who  have
a bachelor’s degree and a B.Ed. degree and have acquired  a  single  subject
certificate in the relevant subject from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open  University.
 The said orders were made applicable for DSC-2003 candidates only. He  also
referred to a memo dated 24.05.2008 of the Government of Andhra  Pradesh  by
which the Director of School Education, Hyderabad was permitted  to  appoint
selected candidates of DSC-2003 who have acquired single  subject  (English)
certificate for the post of School Assistant (English) as  per  their  merit
in the notified vacancies.  The learned Senior Counsel  submitted  that  the
memo dated 03.10.2005 is not applicable to fresh appointments as it  relates
to rationalisation of schools and transfer of teachers.

7.    We are of the opinion that the judgment of the  High  Court  does  not
warrant interference. Admittedly, the Respondent possesses BA with  History,
Economics and Political Science and B.Ed. with Telugu and Social Studies  as
methodology subjects.  He also  possesses  BA  in  Telugu  literature  as  a
single subject from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University.   The  question  that
falls for our consideration  is  whether  the  qualification  of  BA  Telugu
literature as a single subject from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar  Open  University  can
be considered as  equivalent  to  bachelor’s  degree  with  Telugu  as  main
subject.  We are in agreement with Mr. Rao that the  memo  dated  03.10.2005
is  a  clarification  pertaining  to  transfer  of   teachers/officers   and
rationalisation of schools.  The directions given by the Government  to  the
Director of School Education which are referred to supra would clearly  show
that the degree issued by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University  was  considered
to be equivalent to any other degree in respect of a selection conducted  in
the year 2003.  If the Government has considered the degree  issued  by  the
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University as equivalent to any other degree for DSC-
2003 and permitted appointment of similarly situated persons,  there  is  no
reason why the Respondent can be said to be ineligible.   There  is  nothing
in the Rules  which  makes  a  degree  issued  by  Dr.  B.R.  Ambedkar  Open
University which is recognised by the  University  Grants  Commission  (UGC)
from being considered as equivalent to any other degree.

8.    For the abovementioned reasons, the Appeal is dismissed.   No costs.


........................................J
        [S. A. BOBDE]




                    ..……................................J
                                                   [L. NAGESWARA RAO]

New Delhi,
February 22, 2017


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