HC No To Quash SKUAST Statute

SRINAGAR — The Jammu and Kashmir high court on Friday dismissed a petition, seeking quashing of statute of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology Kashmir in so far as it prescribes qualifications for the post of Assistant Professor.

“The Statutes have been framed by the University in exercise of the powers conferred on it by Section 6 of the SKUAST Act, and, therefore, the same constitute subordinate legislation. Section 39 of the SKUAST Act also confers such power on (it). It would suffice to say that subordinate legislations cannot be quashed by issue of a writ of certiorari,” a bench o Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey said. “A subordinate legislation can, at best, be declared as ultra vires the Constitution or the enabling enactment and struck down accordingly.”

“It is not the case of the petitioners that the impugned Statutes, which have been framed by the university in exercise of the power conferred on it by the relevant provision of the SKUAST Act, are ultra vires the Constitution or the enabling enactment on any count, whatsoever. Therefore, the relief sought cannot be granted,” the court said.

The court also dismissed plea of the petitioners to quash advertisement (notice no.01 of 2017 dated 31.03.2017) issued by the insofar as it prescribes Ph. D as the qualification for the post of Assistant Professor-cum-Junior Scientist in the Faculty of Fisheries.

The petitioners—Irfan Ahmad Bhat and others had stated that they have done Post-graduation / Master’s in Fisheries Science and have qualified the National Eligibility Test (NET) conducted by the Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board.

They had contended that the qualifications for the post of Assistant Professor prescribed by the UGC is Master’s with, at least, 55% marks (or an equivalent grading in point scale wherever grading system is followed) at the Master’s level in the relevant subject or an equivalent degree from an Indian or Foreign University. Besides fulfilling the qualification, they stated, the candidates must have cleared NET for Lecturers conducted by the UGC  or CSIR etc. The varsity in reply stated that the regulatory bodies like UGC, MCI etc. only lay down the minimum standards, and that the employer can set higher standards of qualification. It averred that the qualification for the post of Lecturer recommended by the UGC, as pointed out by the petitioner, was the minimum eligibility criteria, and that the qualification fixed by the University for the post of Assistant Professor-cum-Junior Scientist is not less than the minimum eligibility suggested by the UGC. It said that the qualifications prescribed in the advertisement notice strictly conform to the minimum qualifications prescribed under Schedule-I to Chapter-II of the University Statutes.

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