Stressing the need for maintaining excellence in standards of higher education, the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the constitutional validity of the 2009 University Grants Commission Regulations by which NET/SLET was laid down as the minimum eligibility condition for recruitment and appointment of lecturers in universities and colleges.
A bench of Justices T S Thakur and Rohinton F Nariman dismissed a bunch of appeals filed by M Phil and PhD degree holders, who had claimed that the rule prejudiced their interests and they were thrown out of the zone of consideration abruptly. They claimed it was violation of their right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution since it was discriminatory.
The bench, however, said: “The arguments based on the Article 14 have to be rejected.”
The objective of the directions of the Central government when read with the UGC regulations of 2009/2010 was to maintain excellence in standards of higher education, the court said. “Keeping this object in mind, a minimum eligibility condition of passing the national eligibility test is laid down.”
Emphasising upon the requirement of a consistent policy, it said: “There may have been exemptions laid down by the UGC in the past but the Central government now as a matter of policy feels that any exemption would compromise the excellence of teaching standards in universities/colleges/ institutions governed by the UGC. Obviously, there is nothing arbitrary or discriminatory in this — in fact it is a core function of the UGC to see that such standards do not get diluted.”