A.I.I.M.S. Vs. Dr. Nlkhil Tandon & Ors  INSC 291 (20 February 1996)
Reddy, B.P. (J) Jeevan Reddy, B.P. (J) Venkataswami K. (J) B.P. Jeevan Reddy,J.
JT 1996 (2) 473 1996 SCALE (2)362
All India Institute of Medical Sciences [A.I.I.M.S] published a notification
calling for applications for appointment to several posts including a posts of
Assistant Professor in Endocrinology. According to the notification published
in the newspapers dated August
20,1992, the last date
for applying was October
7, 1992. We are
concerned herein with the selection and appointment to the post of assistant
Professor [Endocrinology]. Pursuant to the said notifications several persons
applied for these posts including Dr. Nikhil Tandon and Dr.Ajay Sood.
Qualifications and other criteria of eligibility was as provided in the Rules
and Regulations prescribed by the Institute, i.e., A.I.I.M.S. the selection
committee met and prepared a panel of two candidates. Tandon was placed at No.1
and Sood at No.2. The selection committee recommended that since both the
candidates are of high merit it would be appropriate if the Institute creates
another post to accommodate Sood. It, however, appears that the Institute could
not create an additional post and since there was only one posts it appointed Tandon
to it. Sood went to Delhi High Court by way of a writ petition questioning the
selection and appointment of Tandon. Though several grounds were raised in the
writ petition, only one point was urged at the time of hearings Viz. that Tandon
was not qualified to hold the said post and, therefore, his selection and
appointment is illegal.
Delhi High Court has upheld the said contention and has set aside the selection
and appointment of Tandon. These two Special Leave Petitions are preferred by Tandon
and the Institute.
granted in both the Special Leave Petitions.
Institute was established and is governed by the All India Institute of Medical
Sciences Acts 1956. Section 5 declares the Institute to be an Institution of
national importance. Section 23 provides that "(N)otwithstanding anything
contained in the Indian Medical Council Acts 1933 the medical degrees and
diplomas granted by the Institute under this Act shall be recognised medical qualifications
for the purposes of that Act and shall be deemed to be included in the first
Schedule to that Act." Section 24 empowers the Institute to grant medical
degrees, diplomas and other academic distinctions and titles under the Act.
28 confers the rule-making power upon the Central Government to carry out the
purpose of the Act whereas Section 29 empowers the Institute to make
regulations in respect of matters provided therein with the previous approval
of the Central Government.
All India Institute of Medical Sciences Recruitment Rules, 1981 prescribe the
method and mode of recruitment to the posts in the Institute. Rule 12 which
carries the sub heading "Qualifications" says that the academic and
professional qualifications including experience prescribed for each post shall
be as per Schedule-I to the Rules. Rule 11, which carries the sub-heading
"Postgraduate Qualifications", reads: "Postgraduate
qualification means a postgraduate qualification recognised as per the Medical
Council of India Act and for this purpose the holder of an M.A.M.S. (Membership
of the Academy of Medical Sciences) awarded after an examination held by the
Indian Academy of Medical Sciences will be deemed to possess a recognised
postgraduate (degree) qualification". Schedule-I to the Rules prescribes
the qualifications for the teaching posts mentioned therein. SI.No.7 of the
Schedule pertains to the post of Assistant Professor. It reads:
Professor (Medical) Pay Scale: Rs.3500-125-4500+NPA.
1 to 3 same as for Professor (Medical) EXPERIENCE (for qeneral disciplines):
Three years teaching and/or research experience in recognised Institution in
the subject of speciality after obtaining the qualifying degree of MD/MS or
qualification equivalent thereto.
(For Superspecialities disciplines): One year teachinq and/or research
experience after obtaining M.Ch/ D.M. or qualification recognised equivalent
thereto." We are not concerned herein with the experience part of it, but
only with the qualifications mentioned as essential.
essential qualifications for assistant Professor's post are the same as
prescribed for the post of Professor (Medical) which is mentioned at Sl.No.1 in
the Schedules which reads:
(Medical) Pay Scale Rs.5900-200-7300+NPA Essential Qualifications:
medical qualification included in the I or II schedule or part II of the third
schedule to the Indian Medical Council Act of 1956 (persons possessing
Qualifications included in part II or third schedule should also fulfil the
conditions specified in section 13(3) Of the Act).
postgraduate qualification e.g. MD/MS or a recognised qualification equivalent
thereto in the respective discipline/subject.
M.Ch. for surgical superspecialities and D.M. for Medical superspecialities or
qualification recognised equivalent thereto." Here again, there is no
dispute that Tandon possesses essential qualifications mentioned under Items 1
and 2. The only dispute is whether he possesses the qualifications prescribed under
Item No.3. To be more precise, the question is whether Tandon hold "D.M.
for medical superspeciailities or qualification recognised equivalent
thereto". Admittedly, Tandon does not hold the qualification of D.M. The
question is whether he holds the qualification which is recognised as
equivalent to D.M.? Tandon says, he does and the Institute supports him whereas
Sood says that Tandon does not.
obtaining his M.D., Tandon went to United Kingdom and was working in the Cambridge University for Ph.D. qualification. He joined
the Ph.D. course there on April 17, 1990.
By April 17, 1992, he had completed two years. As a
matter of fact, he completed his three years' course on April 17, 1993 and it is stated that he obtained
his Ph.D. qualification on June 22.1993. Tandon says, his two years' training
at Cambridge University while working for Ph.D. is the qualification recognised as
equivalent to D.M.
to the notification calling for applications issued by the Institute, the last
date for submitting the applications was October 7, 1992. It, therefore follows that the
qualifications of an applicant should be ascertained with reference to that
date alone. [So far as "experience" is concerneds the notification
issued by the Institute itself says that "the effective date upto which
the experience must be completed will be June 30,1993". But as stated hereinabove,
we are not concerned with the experience part of the qualifications in this
matter.] By October 7,
1992, Tandon had put
in more than two years' training while working for his Ph.D. in the Cambridge University. The question to repeat, is whether that training for two
years can be treated as a qualification recognised as equivalent to D.M.? Sri Arun
Jaitley, learned counsel for the Institute and Sri Soli J.Sorabjee, learned
counsel for Tandon, submitted that in the absence of any orders by the
Institute recognising any particular qualification as equivalent to D.M., it
would be legitimate to refer to the qualifications prescribed by the Indian
Medical Council for similar posts.
counsel relied upon the Brochure issued by the Medical Council of India
entitled "Recommendations on the qualifications required for Appointment
of persons to the posts of Teachers in Medical Colleges and attached Hospitals for graduate
and postgraduate teaching" in the years 1989.
Brochure mentions the special academic qualifications and teaching experience
required for several posts mentioned therein. So far as the post of Professor
in Endocrinology is concerned, the academic qualifications prescribed are
M.D. in medicine with two years special training in Endocrinology".
Learned counsel pointed out that in the said Brochure wherever it is required
that the special training must be obtained in India, it has been so specified. By way of illustration, they
rely upon the academic qualification prescribed for the post of Professor in
the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Cat Page 22]. The
academic qualification mentioned for the said' post is "M.S. in General
Surgery/M.S. (Orthopaedics) with two years' special training in the speciality
of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Rehabilitation Medicine) or two years
of equivalent training approved in the subject in any approved Institution in
India." By contrasting the language of the said qualification with the
language employed in the academic qualification prescribed for the post of
Professor in Endocrinology, it is contended that two, years' special training
in Endocrinology need not be in an Institute in India ors for that matters any recognised
or approved institution in India and that it is enough if such special training
is obttained in any Institution of repute. Learned counsel stressed the well
established reputation of the Cambridge University where Tandon was undergoing the
training and doing research for his Ph.D. Reliance was also placed upon the
letter dated September
16,1993 issued from
the Medical Council of India addressed to Tandon, which reads as follows:
COUNCIL OF INDIA No.MCI-12(1)/93-Med./14815 Date: 16.9.93 To Professor P.N.Tandon
Deptt. of Neurosurgery, All India Instt. of
Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi - 110 O29.
------- Sub:- Teachers' Eligibility Qualifications - Appointment of persons to
the different posts of teachers in the Deptt. of Endocrinology.
** Sir, With reference to your letter dated nil on the subject noted above, I
am to state that the Medical Council of India in its recommendations on
Teachers' Eligibility Qualifications to the different post of teachers in the Deptt.
of Endocrinology have prescribed as under:
Qualification Teaching Exp.
------------- ------------- Professor D.M. (Endocrinology) (a) As Reader in
M.D. in Medicine Endocrinology for with 2 years 4 years in a special training
-do- (b) As Lecturer in Endocrinology for 5 years in a medical college.
-do- (c) Requisite recog- nised postgraduate qualification in the subject.
clarified that a person is eligible to be appointed as teacher in the speciality
either with DM (Endocrinology) or with M.D. in Medicine with 2 years special
training in Endocrinology.
faithfully, sd/ (MRS. M.SACHDEVA) SECRETARY" On the question whether D.M.
is a post-graduate qualification or a superspeciality, learned counsel stressed
the language in qualification No.2 prescribed for the post of Professor in
Schedule-I to the A.I.I.M.S. Recruitment Rules, 1981 viz., "a
post-graduate qualification, e.g., H.D./M.S. or a recognised qualification
equivalent thereto...". Learned counsel emphasised the fact that the
Institute is an autonomous and statutory body and is entitled to decide for
itself which qualificatian is equivalent to D.M. Inasmuch as the Institute has treated
the two years' special training of Tandon at the Cambridge University as
equivalent to D.M. qualifications it is not open to any other person to
question it. They pointed out that not only the Institute but the selection
committee was also satisfied that Tandon did satisfy the requirements of Rules
and that in such a case, it was not appropriate for the High Court to interfere
and declare that Tandon was not qualified.
Singh, learned counsel for Sood, on the other hand, supported the reasoning and
conclusion of the High Court. The learned counsel submitted that D.M. is a
post-graduate qualification as has been mentioned in the prospectus issued by
the Institute itself concerning admission to courses conducted by it. Learned
counsel relied upon the Recommendations of the Medical Council of India on
Post-graduate Medical Education (revised upto January, 1988) wherein at Page 6,
the following statement occurs:
Committee was of the opinion that the following nomenclature should be
uniformly adopted for all clinical and non-clinical subjects.
the postgraduate degree, the following degree, were recommended:
D.M.M.Ch. for specialities in which a candidate should have taken prior to M.D./M.S.,
i.e., for specialities in Category 'C'." Counsel placed reliance on Rule
11 of the Recruitment Rules which says that "post-graduate qualification
means a postgraduate qualification recognised as per the Medical Council of
India Act" and contended on that basis that since the qualifications or
the training in any Institution in United Kingdom is not recognised by the
Medical Council of India, neither of them can be treated as post-graduate
qualification. Counsel pointed out that while prior to 1978, the United Kingdom qualifications were recognised in India, they are not so recognised since
1978. If a degree awarded by the Cambridge University is not recognised for the purpose
of appointment to any post in India, the
learned counsel says, the training undergone by a person in such University
cannot also be taken into account. The training contemplated by the First
Schedule to the Recruitment Rules is the training which is recognised by the
Medical Council of India, i.e., in an Institute approved or recognised by
Medical Council of India. He submitted that neither is there a general order
nor a special order recognising the alleged training undergone by Tandon as a
qualification equivalent to D.M. by the Institute or by the Medical Council of
of the opinion that the two years' training at Cambridge University undergone by Tandon while working
for his Ph.D. cannot be treated as a qualification recognised as equivalent to
Schedule-I to the A.I.I.M.S. Recruitment Rules speaks of D.M. qualification or
a qualification recognised as equivalent thereto. It is not mere equivalence
that is enough. It must also be recognised as equivalent. Recognised evidently
means recognised by the Institute or at least by the Medical Council of India.
Admittedly, neither has recognised the said research work/training for two
years in the Cambridge University as equivalent to D.M. It is agreed before us that the
degrees awarded by the Cambridge University are not recognised in India since 1978. This means that even if Tandon had obtained his Ph.D. qualification
from Cambridge University on or before October 7, 1992, it could not have been recognised
as a qualification equivalent to D.M. If so, it is ununderstandable how the two
years' research/training put in by Tandon while working for the said qualification
can be counted as a qualification recognised as equivalent to D.M.
be equivalent; it may be more. But the question is whether it is recognised -
and admittedly it is not. We are not impressed by the argument of Sri Jaitley
that the words "M.D. in Medicine with two years' special training in
Endocrinology" in the Recommendations of Medical Council of India with
respect to the post of Professor in Endocrinology means two years' special
training in Endocrinology anywhere in the world. The said words have to be read
and understood in the context of the A.I.I.M.S Recruitment Rules and the First
Schedule thereto. The submission based upon the contrast in the language used
in describing the qualifications for Professor in endocrinology and Professor
in the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is unacceptable. Sri Jaitely
could not point out any such requirement against any other qualification in the
said Recommendations. Based upon the use of the words, "in any approved
Institution in India" in the qualifications mentioned for one among the
several posts in the Recommendations, it is not possible to hold that the
qualifications awarded by Institutions which are not recognised by the MedicaI
Council of India or the training undergone in such Institutions has become recognised.
The acceptance of this argument would mean that the qualifications not recognised
by the Institute or Medical Council of India become recognised ln this indirect
cannot countenance such an argument.
It is also
not possible to agree with the learned counsel for the appellants that because
the Institute was of the opinion that Tandon was qualified according to the
Rules and forwarded his name for consideration by the selection committees it
amounts to "recognition" of the said two years' training as a recognised
must be by a general order/proceeding published for the information of all
concerned. It cannot be a matter decided in a given case for the purpose of
written arguments submitted by Tandons a new submission is urged based upon
certain statements contained in the Special Leave Petition. It is submitted
that though the qualifications awarded by the Cambridge University may not be recognised by the Medical
Council of India, the qualifications awarded by University of London and University of Sheffield continue to be recognised. It is
submitted that part of the training/research undertaken by him while working
for his Ph.D. was at Sheffield and, therefore, it must be treated
as a recognised qualification.
this submissions which is factual in nature, was not urged in the High Court.
Secondly, even if it is assumed for the sake of argument that the
qualifications and degrees awarded by the University of Sheffield continue to be recognised, it
appears from the averments made and documents filed by Tandon that his
experience in the University of Sheffield is from October, 1991 to Aprils 1993. He was permitted by
the Cambridge University, on November
20, 1990, to shift to
the University of Sheffield. By a communication dated June 6, 1990, the University of Sheffield agreed to the transfer of his studies for the degree of Ph.D
from Cambridge to Sheffield "for the period October, 1991 to April, 1993". It
is thus evident that by October
7, 1992, he had not
undergone two years' training at Sheffield. If so, the said circumstance cannot also advance his case.
view of the above, it is not necessary for us to go into other questions
arising herein including the question whether the D.M. qualification is a
post-graduate qualification for the purposes of the appointment in the
a matter of regret that a selection made by a competent and qualified selection
committee has to be set aside on the aforesaid ground but the Court is left
with no alternative in the circumstances. It would have been in the fitness of
things, if the Institute could create another post and accommodate both Tandon
and Sood, as recommended by the selection committee. Even now, it is not too
late for the Institute to consider the said suggestion of the selection
appeals accordingly fail and are dismissed. No costs.