The Supreme Court has ruled that candidates with a B.ED degree in Biological Science are eligible to apply for the post of High School Assistant in Kerala state schools. A bank made up of Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice Aniruddha Bose Aside from the Kerala High Court rulings that found that a B.Ed degree in Biological Science is not a qualification for …
The Supreme Court has ruled that candidates with a B.ED degree in Biological Science are eligible to apply for high school assistants in state schools in Kerala.
A bank consisting of Judge L Nageswara Rao and Judge Aniruddha Bose overturn the Kerala High Court rulings that a B.Ed in Biological Science does not qualify as a high school assistant.
The Supreme Court considered two appeals. The complainants were persons with a B.Ed in “Biological Science”. According to the Kerala Public Service Commission notice, the qualifications for the position of HSA (Natural Sciences) were:
- Applicants should have botany or zoology or home science or microbiology majors for graduation or postgraduate studies.
- B.Ed / BT in the “affected subject”.
The question was whether B.Ed in ‘Biological Sciences’ would qualify as B.Ed in the “subject concerned” in the sense of HSA (Natural Science).
When the PSC refused to accept their motions on the grounds that they did not have a B.Ed in Natural Science, they turned to the Kerala Administrative Tribunal. While their proceedings were pending before the KAT, the Kerala government issued two orders finding that the B.Ed. “Biological Science” degree of the complainant to the B.Ed. in “Natural Science” is equivalent.
On the basis of these government decisions, the court approved both the petitions and the KPSC to list the names of the applicants.
The KPSC challenged the orders of the tribunal in the High Court of Kerala. Their position in the High Court was that equivalence should apply from the date the respective GOs were issued and that those GOs could not apply retrospectively from the date the posts were served. Accepts the argument of the PSC, a division bank of Judges K Vinod Chandran and VG Arun of the High Court overturned the KAT decision. The High Court said that if the government orders were passed retrospectively, it would mean changing the rules of the game halfway, which is inadmissible.
The candidates challenged the High Court’s ruling and turned to the Supreme Court. Their main argument is that the GOs only have an existing position regarding the status of their respective educational qualifications and the confirmation of the equivalence of their B.Ed. Topics of the respective GOs met the admission requirements.
Justification of the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court found that there is no provision in the Kerala Education Rules that makes B.Ed a qualification criterion in any particular subject.
“The qualification requirement in the relevant subject is present, but according to the clause mentioned, it postulates a B.Ed. degree as an admission criterion the departments required a B.Ed. degree in the relevant subject “, drafted the judgment of Judge Aniruddha Bose.
As regards the government decisions, the Court found that they “recognize an existing fact about the nature of the degrees and have not created any new value for the applicants’ degrees”.
“As soon as the GOs have expressly stated that their B.Ed. degree is equivalent to the subject provided for in the job advertisement, the GOs are to be interpreted as clarifying the content and it cannot be assumed that they have increased their status or position the Degree that they already had after the declaration in the GOs Although these equivalent orders had not yet existed at the time the employment notifications were issued, the GOs essentially recognize this status from the date on which these qualifications were obtained of the B.Ed. it says in the judgment.
The court said that it did not consider that “treating the applicants’ degrees as equivalent to those required under current GO’s 2019 rulings would result in a mid-way change in the rules of the game”.
“At best, in a figurative sense, this can be described as the interpretation of rules while the game is in progress. In our opinion, such an approach would be permissible.”the Tribunal found.
“We are of the opinion that the applicants’ degrees in the B.Ed. are equivalent to those required in the employment notices and the equivalency orders are only for clarification purposes. For this reason, we do not see any fundamental violation of the notices (v) and (vi) of section 7 of the respective employment notices with the complainants “, added the court.
The Supreme Court overturned the High Court’s judgment and restored the administrative court orders.
“Let the result of the complainants be disclosed and in the event that they are included in the list of selected candidates according to the ranking lists because of their performance, the complainants will not benefit from the expiration of the list after the expiry of the time. If they qualify for an appointment , they are appointed and treated as if they had served in their respective offices from the date of their appointment. “the court ordered.
Attorney Sarath Janardanan published for the complainant.
Title: Praveen Kumar CP v Kerala Public Service Commission and Others (CA No. 4846/2021) and related case
Quote: LL 2021 SC 392
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