In Promotions, the Term ‘College’ Cannot Be Interpreted via Karnataka State Universities Act, 2000: Supreme Court

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This case concerned the interpretation of the term ‘college’ under the Karnataka State Universities Act, 2000, for the purpose of promotion under CAS, promulgated by UGC. 

Brief Facts of the Case- 

The first Respondent- writ Petitioner had claimed promotion under Career Advancement Scheme (CAS), promulgated by UGC, from 01.01.2009 instead of 28.10.2013. Earlier, the writ Petitioner worked as an Associate Professor, in J.S.S. college, which is affiliated to Karnataka University. Later, by Syndicate Resolution dated 26.10.2013, was appointed as an Associate Professor in the P.G. Department of  Mathematics in the University and he joined on 28.10.2013. 

He had been promoted to the post of a professor considering his three years of service in the previous college. Before the High Court, the first Respondent claimed that the three years of service in the cadre of Associate Professor from 01.01.2006 to 01.01.2009, thus should be considered for promotion from 01.01.2009. 

The Single Bench and Division Bench of the High Court, both, accepted the claim of the First Respondent. Aggrieved by this judgment this appeal has been filed by the Appellant. 

Appellant’s Argument- 

It was submitted that at the time of recruitment, the Respondent No.1 did not apply for the post of Professor as he was aware of the fact that he was not eligible for the same. He cannot be considered for promotion, from any date before 28.10.2013 because he was admittedly not in the employment of the University. 

According to the preamble of the statute, the candidate must be on the rolls of the University or a Constituent College. Respondent No.1 had been given the benefit of Clause 17 of the statute, as his previous service was considered for promotion, but as he was not in service of University, the promotion was rightly given effect from 20.10.2013. Clause 17 provides for counting of past services for Direct Recruitment and Promotion under CAS. 

The incumbent teacher is required to be on the rolls of the ‘Constituent College’ only and not ‘affiliated College’.

Respondent’s Argument- 

The statute framed by the University for effective promotion in CAS applies to Professors, Associate Professors, Assistant Professors, Principals of the Constituent College, and various other posts. It was submitted that the term ‘Principals of Constituent College’ ought to be read disjunctively, from other posts, as it appears only as a category of principals and no other posts. 

The definition under Sec. 2(2) of Karnataka State Universities Act, 2000, the term “College” includes ‘Constituent College’ and ‘Affiliated College’ both. The High Court had correctly interpreted the relevant statute; thus, the effective date of promotion should be 01.01.2009. 

Observation by the Court: 

The Court observed that Clauses 12.6 and 12.7 of the Statute read with Preamble, makes it clear that the term “College”, in the statute refers to only Constituent College but not Affiliated College. There cannot be any promotion in the University for the period where the writ Petitioner was not ineffective service of the University. The University is not expected to grant promotion when he was working in an affiliated college or anterior to the entry of service of the First Respondent. 

Karnataka State Universities Act, 2000, applies to all the colleges, including private colleges as well. The private Colleges also have to seek affiliation from jurisdictional universities, as such the term ‘College’ is broadly defined. However, this definition cannot be considered for a grant of promotion under CAS. For the grant of promotion under CAS, the word ‘College’ is to be interpreted, considering, the preamble of the statute governing promotions. 

The decision of the Court- 

The civil appeal was allowed, the High Court judgment was set aside and quashed, with no order as to costs. 

Click here to read the judgment in Registrar, Karnataka University, and Anr. v. Dr. Prabhugoda and Anr.


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