In the case of Priya Varghese v. Dr. Joseph Skariah a writ appeal against a single judge’s ruling in a case challenging the provisional rank list for the appointment of an associate professor in the department of Malayalam at Kannur University on the grounds that the first-place candidate’s credentials and years of experience were in doubt. Assistant Professor at an independent institution served as the respondent in the current case. The respondent was rated second after the appellant in the tentative rank list of candidates for selection to the position of Associate Professor released by Kannur University. Based on years of experience, unequal marks, etc., the reply disputed the first rank holder’s eligibility for the position of Associate Professor in the aforementioned rank list. The Single Judge ruled that the appellant’s experience as the Director of Student Services at Kannur University and while on deputation under the Faculty Development Programme at Kannur University could not be considered teaching experience under Regulation 4.1.II of the UGC Regulations, 2018. While making its decision in this case, the Court took into account the following factors.
Analysis of Court Decision
Justice Mohammed Nias and Justice A.K. Jayasankaran Nambiar of the Division Bench of the Kerala High Court ruled in favour of the appellant, stating that she was qualified to apply for the position of associate professor. The Court discussed the intimate connection between research and education and examined Regulations 17.0.I, 8 and 9. According to the Court, the plan made it obvious that faculty members were encouraged to do research, and the University sought to gain by requiring the instructor to remain on staff. It also included the Staff Improvement Scheme and the Faculty Development Scheme, which took the role of the previous programme for fostering research and described the selection process used to grant research opportunities to up to 20% of regular staff. According to the Court, the time that the appellant spent pursuing his PhD through the Faculty Development Programme cannot be disregarded while calculating his teaching experience towards becoming an assistant professor through the contested notification from Kannur University.
Except for her contractual work at the Teacher Training Centre, the Court dismissed the writ petition and ruled in favour of the appellant on all of the points brought up in the current appeal. The Court determined that the appellant was qualified to apply for the position of Associate Professor under the contested Kannur University notification.