(1). In all these cases a common question has arisen in the context of recruitment Rules framed by the Governor of Rajasthan under proviso to Article 309 for recruitment to the posts under the Rajaslhan Educational Subordinate Service Rules 1971 (hereinafter called, 'the Rules of 1971').
(2). One of the posts encadred under the Rules of 1971 is the Senior Teacher. The requisite qualification prescribed is-
'Graduate or equivalent examination with atleast two subjects taught in the school with Degree or Diploma in Education or Montessory.'
(3). The petitioners in Writ Petitions No. 4309/96, 3343/98, 4307/96, 4308/96 and 4310/96 are all who held B. Ed. Degree from Rajasthan Vidya Peeth Udaipur, a Demand University and were already recruited as Order 11 Teacher in Udaipur Division by the Education Department. They were given a show cause notice stating that the B.Ed. Degree obtained by the said petitioners after completing B.Ed.'(Child Development) had undergone a bridge course which is considered equivalent only to STC training but not equivalent to B.Ed. Degree required under the Rules of 971 and therefore the said petitioners are ineligible to hold post of Senior Teacher in pay scale applicable thereto. Later on, vide orders of different dates, their services have been terminated on account of the ineligibililty alleged against each of the petitioners on the ground that the Degree which they were holding was not a degree requisite for the post in question.
(4). All the petitioners In the aforesaid petitions are holding a degree from Rajasthan Vidya Peeth which is a demand University. The tenure of the course which results in grant of B.Ed. Degree at the said institution has been that a course is conducted in B.Ed, (in Child Development) as the Diploma, thereafter a bridge course is conducted, for those who have completed the B.Ed. (Child Diploma) course and on completion of both the course the university awarded a degree of B.Ed.
(5). Faced with aforesaid situation, the Rajasthan Vidya Peeth itself has filed a writ petition No. 362/97 seeking a declaration that the B.Ed. Degree granted by the petitioner (deemed university, Rajasthan Vidya Peeth) to the candidates after grant of degree in Child Diploma and undergoing successfully three months bridge course, a B.Ed. Degree is a B.Ed. Degree awarded by university and question of equivalence does not arise. A degree awarded by a University established by law or Deemed University in any discipline concerned does not require a declaration by comparing the course of different universities. Such degree fulfils the condition of eligibility qualificationunder the Rules of 1971 for being appointed as Senior Teacher and above in the Govt. of Rajasthan, under the said Rules. It was further prayed that the respondents be directed not to terminate the services of the candidates appointed with the aforesaid - qualification as Gr. II Senior Teachers and above.
(6). There is no controversy about the fact that the Rajasthan Vidya Peeth, Udaipur is a Deemed University. The petitioners in all the petitions (except in Writ Petition No. 362/96 which is filed by the Institution) are holding the B.Ed. Degree from the said Deemed University. The courses conducted before awarding the B.Ed, Degree has been in the format as stated above; namely a candidate is initially trained and awarded B.Ed. Child Development Diploma and after undergoing a bridge course devised by the university for that purpose, a B.Ed. Degree is awarded to him.
(7). The respondent State and its authorities are denying the said Degree issued by the Rajaslhan Vidya Peeth, the status as B.Ed..Degree and has taken the stand that it is only a course of B.Ed. Child Diploma plus a bridge course and those who have passed these two course are to be treated as equivalent to STC, and cannot be considered equivalent to a B.Ed. Degree. In other words, while the petitioners claim that university is awarding a B.Ed. Degree after conduct of a particular course devised by it, the case of the respondents is that it is not a case of awarding of B.Ed. Degree but it is a case of claiming equivalence with B.Ed. Degree. It is in the exercise of considering equivalence of the courses conducted by the Rajasthan Vidya Peeth with B.Ed. Degrees granted by other universities or for the purposes of the Rules of 1971; that the Govt. has taken decision as revealed in Annx. Rule 1 that the students who have obtained B.Ed. (Child Diploma) course and have thereafter passed bridge course shall be treated equivalent to STC and has further clarified that the B.Ed, course conducted by Rajasthan Vidya Peeth has not been recognised as equivalent to B.Ed. Course.
(8). Along with the petitions, as originally filed, only the marksheets of the concerned petitioners have been placed on record showing the arks obtained at the B.Ed. Child Diploma course and the bridge course and consolidated marksheet of the two courses. However, on further enquiry made by the Court that marksheets cannot be equated with the Degree as degree actually awarded by the Rajasthan Vidya Peeth, Udaipur, Annx. 16 to 18, as the copies of the Degrees, actually awarded to 4 of the petitioners have been placed on record as illustrative cases, in proof of awarding of B.Ed. Degrees by the Rajasthan Vidya Peeth; on completion of the aforesaid courses.
(9). On principle, it cannot be doubted that laying down the criterion for recruitment including the eligibility criteria and the requisite educational qualification is within the domain of the employer and it was for the State of Rajasthan to have laid down the requisite eligibility conditions for employment for appointment to the post of Senior Teacher (Teacher Gr. II) or other posts under the Rules of 1971 and the eligibility of the candidates thereto had to be judged in the light of that criteria alone. No other embellishment can be imported either by the State or on behalf of the candidates where there is no ambiguity in the Rules. The criteria laid in the rules, as noticed above, makes a candidate eligible to be considered and appointed by direct recruitment if otherwise found suitable to the post of Senior Teacher, as under:-
SI. Name of Post Sources of Minimum qualification and
No. recruitment with experience for direct recruitment
8. (a) Senior Teacher 50% by direct Graduate or equivalent
Examination with atleast two
subjects taught in Schools with
Degree or Diploma in Education
or Montessory Training.
(10). On perusal of the aforesaid rule, it is apparent that it leaves no scope for the State Govt. or anyone to undertake the exercise of drawing equivalence on the basis of courses which results in grant of a Degree in Education or Diploma in Education by any institution recognised in law entitled to award the aforesaid degrees. It is also not in doubt and cannot be disputed, as the law is well settled, that the degree awarded by different universities afore conducting the courses devised by their respective academic bodies in the same discipline do not require a further declaration of equivalence by other executive bodies ordinarily. This exercise' of drawing equivalence between the degrees of one university and another university which is awarded in the same discipline is not permissible in law. This question may arise only when degrees in different discipline are to be equated for any specific purposes, or a qualification of course does not result in awarding of degree is to be treated as degree for any particular purpose.
(11). The requirement under the rule is of holding a Degree or Diploma in Education, and is not circumscribed by any other condition that degree with specific duration of course with specified subjects only shall be considered necessary for considering a person eligible Therefore, If it is established that a candidates in fact holds a Degree in Education from a university established by law or a deemed university, the further enquiry whether such B.Ed. Degree is equivalent to a Degree in Education or Diploma in Education, is not within the domain of the authority deciding upon the eligibility of the such candidates, it must accept the degree of the university whose existence as university is not in doubt as a degree in the discipline in which it has been conferred. This does not exclude the enquiry into the genuineness or otherwise of the document showing conferment of degree by the authority concerned. That enquiry is the realm of genuineness of document, but not on the ground that it is not what it purports to be. Considering equivalence of the degree with any other course is not what it purports to be. Considering equivalence of the degree with any other course is not within the domain of any 'of the State authorities or for the candidates to contend. Nor this exercise shall ordinarily be taken by the courts which is the field of experts.
(12). The above principle has its approval by Supreme Court in Dr. B.L. Asawavs. State of Rajasthan (1). It was a case in which appellant before the Supreme Courl was a candidate for recruitment to post of lecturer in Forensic Medicine. He had acquired a Post graduate degree of M.D. in Forensic Science from University of Bihar. His candidature to post under recruitment Rulesof Rajasthan was rejected on the ground that he did not hold requisite eligibility qualification for the post. Qualification prescribed for the said post included, amongst other,
(i) A basic University Degree or equivalent qualification entered in the schedule of Indian Medical Council Act 1956, and
(ii) Post-graduate qualification in concerned subject.
His qualification of M.D. (Forensic Science) was not considered on the ground that since Rajasthan University does not confer a degree in Forensic Science, the degree granted by Bihar University cannot be considered as equivalent to a post graduate degree required for eligibility. While appellant's contention found favour with a learned Single Judge of this Court, the Division Bench held the candidate ineligible by holding that the qualification held by him cannot be considered equivalent to the qualification of Post-graduate Degree required under the Rules. The Supreme Court, reversing the judgment of Division Bench, said:
'In the case of Post-graduate degree in concerned subject awarded by other statutory Indian university, no recognition or declaration of equivalency by any other university is called for.'
(13). The Court would examine what is the degree conferred by the university and that is only the question that can be examined by the authorities considering thecases of the candidates whether a person holds a Degree in Education. If a person produced the proof of holding a Degree in Education from a university established by law or as a deemed university, further enquiry is not envisaged. In the present case, it cannot be doubted on the basis of material placed on record that Rajasthan Vidya Peeth, Udaipur is conferring a Degree in Education simplicitor and is also conferring a Degree in Child Development. The fact that a Degree in Education is conferred to those who have already done Child Development Courses by providing a bridge course for them is within the domain of the academic body of the Rajasthan Vidya Peeth and not of the State Govt. to sit over that judgment.
(14). It has been contended by the respondents that now the appointment has to be given notwithstanding that a person is holding Degree of any university in the concerned discipline is not enough, it must further come within the purview of the degree recognised by the NCTE.
(15). In this connection attention of the Court has been invited to Annx. 8 furnished by the petitioner University which is an order issued by National Council for . Teacher Education. In the State of Rajasthan, it has recognised the Rajasthan Vidya Peeth. Deemed University, Dabok (Lokmanya Tilak Teaching College, Udaipur) as an institution awarding degrees in B.Ed, as well as B.Ed. (Child Development) From this, it is apparent that the Rajasthan Vidya Peeth, Dabok, Udaipur has also been recognised by the NCTE for the purpose of conferring a degree in B.Ed, as well as degree in B.Ed. (Child Development). Therefore, if a candidate possesses a degree of B.Ed, as distinguished from a degree in B.Ed. (Child Development) from the Rajasthan Vidya Peeth, Dabok, the respondent State cannot refuse his eligibility by ignoring the said B.Ed. Degree on the assumed ground that it is equivalent to STC and not a B.Ed. Degree recognised for the purposes of Rules. This function cannot be arrogated by the respondents. For the purpose to find out whether a candidate possessed a B.Ed. Degree, the only document which is relevant is the certificate of Degree issued by the university to the candidate having passed the requisite course/courses conducted for awarding of such degree by it. The marksheets of results only provide ancillary material about the quality of study made by the person in obtaining the degree.
(16). On considering Annx. 16 to 18, 1 have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that the incumbent-petitioners hold Degree in Education from Rajasthan Vidya Peeth, a deemed university, and has to be treated as holder of a B.Ed. Degree for the purposes of the Rules also. It cannot be treated as STC by any device as has been suggested by the respondents.
(17). Accordingly these petitions are allowed. The termination orders of the petitioners, which have been founded solely on the basis of an exercise undertaken by the respondents to deny the eligibility of petitioners to hold the post by considering equivalence of the degree conferred by the Rajasthan Vidya Peeth, Udaipur by investigating into the courses conducted by the said university before awarding the degree are set aside as it was beyond the jurisdiction of the authorities under the Education Department. The respondents are directed to reinstate the petitioners-incumbents in Writ Petition No. 4309/96, 3343/98, 4307/96, 4308/96, 4310/96 and 4435/98 with all consequential benefits with effect from the date of termination of services. It is also held that the Degree of B.Ed, conferred by the Rajasthan Vidya Peeth, Udaipur is a degree of B.Ed, and does not require an exercise of declaring it equivalent with any other degree or any other course.
(18). There shall be no orders as to costs.