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Himani Malhotra Vs. Indraprastha College for Women and Ors. - (High Court of Delhi) (21 Jul 2017)

Petitioner cannot be denied the right of getting an opportunity to participate in Orientation/Refresher Courses conducted by UGC, merely because she is under suspension



By present petition, Petitioner seeks a writ in nature of certiorari quashing impugned letter/e-mail dated 6th June, 2017 communicated by Respondent No. 1, i.e., Indraprastha College for Women, as being arbitrary and wholly unconstitutional. Petitioner is an Assistant Professor in Indraprastha College for Women and was confirmed on 30th September, 2011 as Assistant Professor, Physical Education and Sports Department of IP College, Delhi University, New Delhi. Disciplinary proceedings were initiated against Petitioner for alleged misconduct which is stated to be still pending and as submitted during course of hearing, Petitioner is under suspension since last five years. Petitioner, however, seeks that she be allowed to pursue University Grants Commissions’ supported Orientation Programme and Refresher Course for teachers to be conducted by University Grants Commission’s academic staff and colleges and submits that, as per the UGC’s guidelines, Universities and Colleges have to allow interested, eligible teachers to attend UGC-ASC Courses based on their eligibility, or else valid reasons would have to be intimated to teachers concerned for not sending of teachers for purpose, as courses so organized for teachers are to ultimately benefit University and college, and teacher.

UGC norms about Orientation Programme/Subject Refresher Course and submissions made on behalf of Respondent No. 1, make it apparent that, for getting any promotion to senior scale, minimum Academic Performance and screening/selection criteria include attending one Orientation and one Refresher/Research Methodology course of 2/3 weeks’ duration for promotion to higher stage 2 from stage 1 or equivalent cadres.

Eligibility criteria put forth in UGC norms about Orientation Programme/Subject Refresher Courses do not prescribe any period of length of service which permits a teacher to participate in Orientation Programme/Subject Refresher Courses, and rather it has been prescribed that, newly appointed lecturers upto six years of continuous service are eligible for Orientation Programme and only those applicants who have attended one Orientation Programme can be one of applicants for Refresher Course.

Even as per guidelines of UGC supported Orientation Programmes qua eligibility condition, it is mentioned even qua temporary/contract teachers, that those of such teachers, who have been teaching for at least two academic sessions in an institution operated by University for at least two years may be allowed to participate in Orientation Programmes/Refresher Courses to enhance their skill. Thus, apparently, a confirmed teacher and present petitioner (even though she is presently under suspension), apparently is on a better footing than a temporary/contract teacher, who can also be given an opportunity to participate in Orientation Programme/Refresher Courses to enhance their skills.

There is no period of length of service prescribed for a teacher to participate in UGC supported Orientation Programme or Refresher Course for teachers. Petitioner cannot be denied her right of getting an opportunity to participate in Orientation/Refresher Courses conducted by UGC, merely because she is under suspension and enquiry proceedings are under progress, for if she is exonerated of charges against her she could be redeemed back to her original position in her establishment.

High Court allowed the Petition and directed Respondent No. 1 to issue a No Objection Certificate to Petitioner for registration and participation in Orientation Programme/Refresher Courses conducted by the UGC for the year 2017-18. Thus, letter/e-mail dated 6th June, 2017 communicated by Respondent No. 1 to Petitioner along with order dated 6th July, 2017 rejecting application of Petitioner for attestation and issuance of No Objection Certificate and Relieving Letter are quashed and set aside.


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