Read Judgment: A. Dharmaraj vs. The Chief Educational Officer, Pudukkottai & Ors.

Pankaj Bajpai

New Delhi, February 22, 2022: Finding that the degree of B.A. (English) was sufficient as per the eligibility criteria for promotion to the post of B.T. Assistant (English) and the Appellant had pursued B.A. (English) and M.A. (Tamil) in different academic years, the Supreme Court has observed that the Appellant was rightly offered promotion considering the degrees secured by him.  

A Division Bench of Justice M.R Shah and Justice B.V Nagarathna observed that degree of M.A. (Tamil) cannot be equated with B.A./B.Sc./B.Ed. and hence Rule 14 which provided that “the teachers who have obtained B.A./B.Sc and B.Ed., during the same academic year shall not be eligible for recommendations”, cannot be pressed into service. 

Going by the background of the case, A. Dharmaraj (Appellant) was promoted to the post of B.T. Assistant (English) vide order of promotion. Prior thereto the appellant was granted the permission to pursue his B.A. (English) under distance education and he successfully completed the same in the month of December, 2014. When the appellant was pursuing his education in B.A. (English), he was granted permission to pursue M.A. (Tamil) which was a two year distance education course and he successfully completed the same. Later, the fifth Respondent challenged the promotion of the appellant and others on the ground that by obtaining two degrees simultaneously, the appellant has rendered himself ineligible. 

The appellant opposed and contended that he pursued B.A. (English) and M.A. (Tamil) in different academic years. The High Court however set aside the promotion of the appellant to the post of B.T. Assistant (English). Hence, present appeal. 

After considering the submissions, the Top Court found that the promotion of the appellant to the post of B.T. Assistant (English) had been set aside by the High Court on the ground that the appellant obtained two degrees namely B.A. (English) and M.A. (Tamil) simultaneously and therefore as per Rule 14 he was ineligible for promotion. 

However, considering Rule 14, it could be seen that the bar was against teachers who had obtained B.A./B.Sc./B.Ed degree simultaneously during the same academic year, added the Court. 

Speaking for the Bench, Justice Shah noted that the appellant did not obtain the degree of B.A. (English) and M.A. (Tamil) during the same academic year. 

The appellant pursued his B.A. (English) during January, 2012 to December, 2014. He pursued his M.A. (Tamil) which was a two years distance education course between the academic years 2013-2014 to 2014-2015. Therefore, as such Rule 14 is not applicable to the facts of the case on hand stricto senso”, added the Bench.

Hence, the Apex Court allowed the appeal and restored the order of promoting the appellant to the post of B.T. Assistant (English). 

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