A.N. Varma, J.
1. Maharaj Singh College, Saharanpur is affiliated to the Meerut University. The principal of the College issued an advertisement which was published in the 'Hindustan Times' on 27th May, 1975 inviting applications for the posts of lecturers in Economics and Sociology in the Degree Section of the College. We are concerned here with the post of lecturer in Economics. In response to this advertisement the petitioner made an application for the post. Several other candidates also applied. The minimum qualifications prescribed for the post by the Ordinance of Meerut University which was then in force was as follows :
'1st Class M. A., or Second Class M. A. with average II class career taking into account results of High School, Intermediate and First degree examination or Ph.D in the subject.'
It is not disputed that the petitioner possessed the minimum qualifications prescribed under the aforesaid Ordinance at the time of the selections which were held on 20th July, 1975. The Selection Committee considered the cases of 12 candidates and unanimously recommended the name of the petitioner at the first position. Thereafter the Managing Committee issued a letter of appointment the same day to the petitioner which stated that the appointment of the petitioner was subject to the approval of the Vice-Chancellor. The petitioner joined the post on 28th July, 1975. It is further stated in the petition that on 31st July, the Management forwarded the papers to the Vice-Chancellor for his satisfaction under Section 31(11) of the U. P. State Universities Act (as it then stood). This letter according to the respondent--University was received by the Vice-Chancellor on 5th August, 1975.
2. The Vice-Chancellor by an order dated 11th September, 1975 refused to accord approval to the petitioner's appointment on the sole ground that the petitioner did not possess the requisite minimum academic qualification prescribed under the First Statutes framed under the U. P. State Universities Act by the Meerut University. These Statutes came into force on 1st August, 1975, that is, after the selections. The petitioner made a representation to the Vice-Chancellor stating that the academic qualifications of the petitioner had to be considered with reference to those prescribed under the Ordinance of the Meerut University which was in force at the time of selections and not in accordance with the First Statutes of the Meerut University. This representation having failed to evoke any response from the Vice-Chancellor, the petitioner approached this Court by way of a writ petition which was dismissed by this Court on 18-1-1977 on the ground of alternative remedy, namely, a reference to the Chancellor under Section 68 of the U. P. State Universities Act. The petitioner then filed a reference before the Chancellor under Section 68 of the Act, which has been rejected by the Chancellor by an order dated 20th April, 1977 which is subject of challenge in this petition.
3. Learned counsel for the petitioner contends that both the Vice-Chancellor as well as the Chancellor have committed a patent error of law in taking the view that the academic qualifications of the petitioner for the purpose of the approval of his appointment had to be considered with reference to the First Statutes of Meerut University which had come into force from 1st August, 75. The view taken by the Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor is that by the time the matter came up before the Vice-Chancellor for his satisfaction under Section 31(11) of the aforesaid Act, the First Statutes of the Meerut University had come into force and consequently the academic qualifications as prescribed under these Statutes alone had to be looked into.
4. Learned Standing Counsel appearing for the respondents, however, argued that the qualifications as they were in force on the date on which the matter of approval came up for consideration before the Vice-Chancellor alone were relevant. He further argued that with the coming into force of the First Statutes of the Meerut University, the Ordinances framed by the Meerut University ceased to be operative by virtue of Section 50(1) of the aforesaid Act.
5. Having heard learned counsel for the parties and given the matter a careful consideration, we are clearly of the view that the petitioner's contention is well founded and has to be accepted.
6. By a series of decisions of this Court the law on the subject seems to have been firmly established. The view taken is that the validity of an appointment has to be judged with reference to the qualifications which were applicable at the time of selections. See 1978 All LJ 831, 1982 UPLBEC 669 : (1983 All LJ 152), 1982 UPLBEC 494 : (1982 All LJ 961) and 1982 UPLBEC 693 : (1983 Lab IC NOC 25). The closest case in point in that reported in 1978 All LJ 831, Dr. (Miss) Raj Kumari Sharma v. Vice Chancellor Meerut University. At page 835 para 12 the Division Bench observed :--
'As stated above in the alternative the petitioner has further contended that since the post was advertised on 7th of June, 1975 and since she fulfilled the qualifications mentioned in the said advertisement her appointment was valid and the fact that on 1st of Aug. 1975 the qualifications were changed would not affect her selection. We do not agree with this submission of the petitioner. The first Statutes came into force from 1st of Aug. 1975. They were published in the Gazette on 25th July, 1975. The section which was to be made from 1st of Aug. 1975 has to be in conformity with the Statutes which came into effect from 1st Aug. 1975. No right can accrue in favour of the petitioner merely because in the instant case the advertisement was made on the 7th of June, 1975. The relevant date for determining the legality of an appointment is the date of selection and if on the date of selection a particular candidate does not fulfil the minimum qualifications he is not entitled for appointment on the said post.
In the instant case the relevant date was the 1st of Aug. 1975 when the Selection Committee met and since the First Statutes had come into force on that date it was necessary that the candidates fulfilled the minimum qualifications as required by the First Statutes. In this view of the matter, we are of the opinion that the advertisement did not confer any right on the petitioner'.
6A. With respect we entirely agree with the aforesaid dictum. The same view has been expressed in the case reported in 1982 UPLBEC 669 : (1983 All LJ 152), and other cases mentioned above. In our opinion there is nothing either in the Act or in the First Statutes which might indicate that selections which were validly concluded under the existing Statutes were intended to be annulled, as a result of the change in qualifications introduced by the First Statutes. The Vice-Chancellor was hence required to satisfy himself as regards the suitability of the candidates recommended by the Selection Committee with reference to the qualifications existing at the time of the selections.
7. The scheme of the U. P. State Universities Act also points to the same conclusion. Thus Section 74(2)(b) of the aforesaid Act provides;
'all proceedings of Selection Committees which took place before the commencement of this Act and all actions by the Management or by the Executive Council, as the case may be, in respect of the recommendations of such Selection Committees, where no orders of appointment on the basis thereof were passed before the commencement of this Act, shall, notwithstanding that the procedure for selection has been modified by this Act, be deemed to have been valid but further proceeding in connection with such pending selections shall be taken in accordance with the provisions of this Act and be continued from the stage where they stood immediately before such commencement.'
8. The legislative intent behind Clause (b) of Section 74(2) seems clear, namely, that all proceedings of Selection Committee concluded before the commencement of the Act and all actions by the Management or by the Executive Council in respect of the recommendations of such Selection Committee before the Act came into force were intended to be preserved and were required to be treated as having been validly accomplished. Now if we are right in our conclusion that under Section 74(2)(b), the selections pending on the date of the Act were intended to be preserved, it logically follows therefrom that the validity of the appointment in pursuance of such selections has to be judged with reference to the qualifications which were existing on the date of the selections. For, the process of selection necessarily implies adjudging the comparative merits of the candidates with reference to the qualifications which were in force at the time of the selections. This is the only hypothesis on the basis of which the selections can be deemed valid. This appears to be the clear legislative intent so far as the selections which had taken place before the commencement of the Act were concerned.
9. In our opinion the same approach ought to be adopted in the case where subsequent to the conclusion of the selections and recommendations made pursuant thereto, different academic or other qualifications come to be prescribed under new Statutes.
10. Acceptance of the view which has found favour of the Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor would on the other hand lead to the inevitable result that the entire selections validly concluded prior to 1st August, 1975 would have to be treated as wiped out and fresh selections shall have to take place in the light of the new Statutes. Such a result does not appear to have been intended either by any express Statute, or warranted by any principle.
11. So far as the argument of the learned Standing Counsel based on Section 50 in concerned, it is true that after coming into force of the first Statutes, the previous Statutes no longer survive if they are inconsistent with the former. But the first Statutes would apply only to selections held on or after 1-8-1975 and not to those which were validly concluded under the previous Statutes.
12. The result of the aforesaid discussion. therefore, is that the respondents Nos. 1 and 2 committed a patent error of law in holding that the matter of approval to the appointment of the petitioner had to be considered with reference to the qualifications laid down in the First Statutes of the Meerut University and not in consonance with the Ordinances of the Meerut University which were in force on the date of the selections held in July, 1975.
13. In the result the petition succeeds and is allowed. The impugned orders passed by the Vice-Chancellor and the Chancellor of Meerut University dated 11th September, 1975 and 20th April, 1977 respectively are quashed. The Vice-Chancellor shall now consider the matter of approval of the petitioner's appointment afresh according to law having regard to the observations made in this judgment. The petitioner shall be entitled to his costs from the respondents.