Committee of Management, Vasanta College for Women Vs. Tribhuwan Nath Tripathi & Ors  INSC
1479 (21 November 1996)
Singh, Suhas C. Sen Sen, J.
21ST DAY OF NOVEMBER, 1996 Present :
Mr. Justice N.P. Singh Hon`ble Mr. Justice Suhas C. Sen A.K. Chitale, Sr. Adv.,
Niraj Sharma, Adv. with him for the appellant S.K. Gupta, and Anil Kumar Jha,
Advs. for the Respondents
following Judgment of the Court was delivered:
Vasanta College for Women, Rajghat Fort, Varanasi, is an educational institution run by and under the control
of Krishnamurthi Foundation India. The
post of Lecturer in English fell vacant in the College. An advertisement was
issued by the College on 12.8.1989 in a number of newspapers inviting
applications for the post. The eligibility requirement for the post according
to the advertisement, was:
good academic record and at least a high Second Division in the Master`s Degree
in the relevant subject from a recognised University.
Doctorate or M.Phil. Degree or an equivalent published work showing an ability
to carry out independent research work. DESIRABLE: A good working knowledge of
Hindi and English.
Nath Tripathi was one of the candidates for the post. Tripathi had a Master`s
Degree in English, but did not have any Doctorate or M.Phil Degree. Tripathi
had a claim that the had registered himself for Ph.D. in March, 19986 on the
research topic "Non-Romanticism in Modern British Poetry". He had
several publications and books to his credit which were as under:-
"Romanticisim and Neo- Romanticism". (Accepted for publication)
"Surrealism and the English Neo-Romantics" (Accepted for publication)
"Treatment of Love in the Poetry of David Gascoyne" (Sent for
"Nature in the Hands of Dylan Thoman" (Under publication)
Books Learning English PartIV (1987) PartIII (1988) PartIV (1988) PartV (1988)
(Bharati Pustak Mandir, Calcutta) A Selection Committee was
constituted to interview the candidates. The Selection Committee comprised of
two external expert members and two representatives of Banaras Hindu University - One was an expert in the subject
for which interview was conducted and the other expert was nominee of the
University, who may or may not be an expert in the subject. But, when the
interview by the Selection Committee was held on 8.11.1989, the two
representatives of BHU failed to turn up. The other two members of the
Selection Committee, however, proceeded with the interview and selected Tripathi
for the post of Lecturer in English.
the Selection Committee had selected Tripathi for the post of Lecturer in
English, the Manager of the College wrote a letter dated 10.11.1989 to the
Deputy Registrar of the BHU, asking him to seek the approval of the Vice- Chanceller
to ad hoc appintment of Tripathi as Lecturer in English with effect from the
date he took over charge.
on Special Duty (Acad. & Exams.) of the BHU wrote a letter dated 23rd December, 1989 seeking clarification as to why the
appointment letter issued to Tripathi mentioned that he had been offered ad hoc
appointment as Lecturer only and further continuation had been made
conditional. It was pointed out that the Selection Committee had recommended Tripathi
for appointment as a Lecturer. The Selection Committee had also mentioned that Tripathi`s
research work and publications were assessed equivalent to Ph.D. On January 8, 1990, the Manager of the College replied
to the letter dated 23rd
"You will recall that the Managing Committee of our College had requested
the Banaras Hindu University to permit them to invite one expert
from outside for selection of Lecturers. This was approved by the Executive
Council of the BHU and made applicable to all the affiliated colleges.
we have been inviting external experts out of the panel of names supplied to us
by the BHU for this purpose. Our Managing Committee has resolved as a policy
matter that permanent appointments should be made only when both experts are
present in the selection. Temporary or ad hoc appointments can be made even
when one of the experts is absent. In this case we had invited two external
experts for the Selection Committee but both were unable to turn up on account
of certain disturbances in the city in spite of having conveyed their
acceptance. Therefore, the selection was held only with the University nominee
and one subject expert in the committee. The candidate selected did not have a
Ph.D. and had stated in the interview that he has started writing his thesis
and will be completing his Ph.D. shortly. In view of the above facts, we have
decided to offer Shri T.N. Tripathi an ad hoc appointment and this has also
been approved by the University." It may be mentioned that Tripathi had
been offered an ad hoc appointment by the Manager by letter dated 18.11.89
which was accepted by Tripathi by a letter dated 27.11.89 in which he pointed
out that the was not a candidate for ad hoc appointment and there must have
been some mistake which should be clarified. It was stated by Tripathi that he
was the only candidate with published work in English Grammar and had appeared
before the Selection Committee. He was an aspirant for the permanent post. He
requested the college to allow him to wait for the result of the interview for
the permanent post.
29.11.89 the Manager of the College informed Tripathi in writing that the post
against which he had been appointed was a permanent post, but temporary
appointment was offered as he had not completed his M.Phil/Ph.D. Degree.
further wrote:- "You had mentioned in the interview that you are writing
your Ph.D. thesis and will be submitting it shortly. You will be considered for
a permanent appointment after successful completion of your Ph.D." Tripathi
was asked to join duty latest by December 15, 1990 failing which it would be
presumed that he was not interested in accepting the offer. On the December,
1989, the Deputy Registrar of BHU informed the Manager of the College that ad
hoc appointment of Tripathi had been sanctioned. On 12th December, 1989, Tripathi
joined as Lecturer in English on ad hoc basis. On 23rd December, 1989, O.P. Tandon,
an Officer special Duty at BHU pointed out to the Manager of the College that Tripathi
had been recommended by the Selection Committee for appointment as Lecturer in
English. The appointment letter issued to Tripathi mentioned that the had been
offered ad hoc appointment as Lecturer until 30th April, 1990 and further
continuation had been made conditional. The proceedings of the Selection
Committee also mentioned that "his research work and publications are
assessed equivalent to Ph.D." In view of that what had been stated above,
it was not clear why Tripathi was not appointed on probation and instead given
ad hoc appointment. On 4th
management of the college passed a resolution for permanent appointment of
Anita Singh and for ad hoc appointment of respondent although only one expert
was present at the meeting. On 8th January, 1990, it was pointed out on behalf
of the college in reply to the University`s letter dated 23rd December, 1989
that due to the absence of one expert, permanent appointment could not be given
to Tripathi. On 27th
March, 1990, Tripathi
sought permanent appointment and explained that delay in getting the Ph.D.
may, 1990, the period of ad hoc appointment of Tripathi was extended upto 31st October, 1990 or permanent appointment whichever
was earlier. On 20th April, 1990, the University had issued a certificate that
pre-submission seminar of Tripathi`s Ph.D. thesis had been held. A copy of the
certificate had been forwarded to the management. On 16th July, 1990, Tripathi filed a writ petition in
the Allahabad High Court seeking a writ of Mandamus for permanent appointment
and also an order against termination of his service. On behalf of the
appellant-College, an advertisement was given in Employment News dated 25-31,
August, 1990 inviting applications for permanent Lecturers in English,
Geography and History. The required qualification was, at least a high second
class M.Phil./Ph.D. or equivalent published work indicating the candidate`s
capacity in independent research work. It was stated in the advertisement that
if no suitable candidate with M.Phil./Ph.D. was available, a candidate with
good academic record with at least two years` research/practical experience may
be appointed on the condition that he/she will have to complete the Ph.D.
within eight years of appointment.
October, 1990, Tripathi informed the management of the College that he had
completed the research work and his thesis had been submitted on 4th October,
1990 and a certificate of University was enclosed, Thereupon, the management of
the College sent him an interview call letter, But, Tripathi did apply for the
post pursuant to the advertisement nor did he turn up for the interview. But,
he filed a second writ petition No. 32900/90 challenging the advertisement
dated 31st August, 1990. This was followed by a letter to
the management not hold any selection in view of the pendency of the writ
petition. No interim order was passed by the Court. On 29th December, 1990, Madhu Kapoor was appointed
Lecturer in English as a probationer. On 2nd January, 1992, her appointment was confirmed. On
the October, 1993, Madhu Kapoor gave a three months notice of resignation. On 9th October, 1993, management directed that Madhu Kapoor
gave a three months notice of resignation. On 9th October, 1993, management
directed that Madhu Kapoor be relieved with effect from the January, 1994 and
fresh advertisement was issued in Employment News dated 6-12 November, 1993
inviting applications to the post of lecturer in English. On 11th January, 1994, the High Court on the application
of Tripathi passed an interim order that any selection or appointment shall be
subject to the writ petitions filed by Tripathi. Tripathi claimed that in january,
1991, he had obtained a Ph.D. degree from BHU. The title of his thesis was
"Neo-Romanticism in Modern British Poetry".
the writ petition filed by him was taken up for hearing, the High Court held
that there was no reason why Tripathi should not have been appointed to the
post of Lecturer in English and the management was directed to appoint Tripathi.
The Court also directed that Tripathi`s appointment pursuant to the
advertisement dated 12th August, 1989 "shall be deemed to have been made
on permanent basis and shall entail the consequences in accordance with
Committee of Management of the College has come up in appeal and has contended
that when appointment of Madhu Kapoor was made, Tripathi had not challenged the
appointment. Madhu Kapoor functioned as Lecturer for more than three years and
there is no reason why Tripathi should be reinstated. The writ-petitioner would
not have had any if Madhu Kapoor continued to work as a Lecturer in the
basic point is that Tripathi did not have the requisite qualifications for
appointment as Lecturer. He did not have a Ph.D. Degree when he appeared for
interview. That is why an ad hoc appointment was given to him. This was done on
the basis of representation made by Tripathi before the Selection Committee
that he would get his Ph.D. Degree shortly. But he failed to get the same even
within the extended time of appointment and, therefore, the management had no
alternative but to issue fresh advertisement for the post of Lecturer. The ad
hoc appointment was extended once and had not been extended thereafter. A fresh
appointment was made. Madhu Kapoor functioned as Lecturer in English till she
voluntarily resigned after three years.
contention of Tripathi is that the writ petition was filed long before Madhu Kapoor
was appointed. His case is that the Selection Committees had recommended him
for appointment on permanent basis. The Committee had taken into consideration
the fact that he did not have a Ph.D. degree, but considered his published work
as equivalent to Ph.D. It was for the Selection Committee to assess the merit
of the candidate. It was not the case of the management that the Selection
Committee had erred in it assessment. The case of the management was that the
two nominees of BHU, one whom was for the management to arrange a proper
meeting of the Selection Committee. The management did not call for another
meeting of the Selection Committee but implemented its decision in its own way.
The selection Committee recommended Tripathi to be appointed on permanent
basis. The management appointed Tripathi on ad hoc basis on the plea that the
two experts from BHU had failed to attend the meeting. If the meeting was not
held properly, then the college authorities should not have acted on the basis
of the recommendation of the Selection Committee at all. In fact, no attempt
was made by the College authorities to convene another meeting of the Committee
to assess the merit of the candidates. In other words, the management accepted
the decision of the Selection Committee and Tripathi was allowed to function as
Lecturer in English on ad hoc basis from 12th December, 1989 to 31st October, 1990. Tripathi had duly completed his Ph.D. thesis.
was some delay in obtaining the degree because of fracture suffered by his
supervisor, but ultimately, he obtained his Ph.D. Degree. His prayer is to regularise
point of time when Madhu Kapoor was appointed as Lecturer in English, Tripathi`s
ad hoc appointment stood terminated. Tripathi`s had accepted the ad hoc
appointment after making some protests but actually worked on ad hoc basis and
even got an extension of the appointment on ad hoc basis. It was clearly
explained to Tripathi at the time of his appointment that if he obtained his ph.D.
within a short time, his appointment will be made permanent. It has been stated
on behalf of the appellant that the appointment was given on the basis of an
assurance given by Tripathi to the Selection Committee. Unfortunately, Tripathi
could not get his Ph.D. Degree within a reasonable time after his appointment.
The management of the College, thereafter, decided not to grant any further
extension to the ad hoc appointment of Tripathi and proceeded to advertise the
post once again and appointed Madhu Kapoor as Lecturer. It is true that Tripathi
had writ petitions challenging advertisement and termination of his service. Tripathi
could not get any interim orders as a result of which Madhu Kapoor`s
appointment was made unconditionally on permanent basis.
happened thereafter was a fortuitous event. Madhu Kapoor after only three
years` service resigned. The post was readvertised. During the three years`
tenure of Madhu Kapoor, the respondent did not question the validity of Madhu Kapoor`s
appointment at all nor did he stake any claim to the post occupied by her. The
resignation of Madhu Kapoor could not give rise to any right to the respondent.
It is true that in the meantime, he had obtained Ph.D. It is also true that the
conditions of recruitment had been relaxed to enable an otherwise qualified
person to obtain a Ph.D. Degree within a period of eight years from the date of
appointment. But the case of the respondent has to be seen on the basis of the
rules on force at the time of his appointment.
contention that he had published works equivalent to Ph.D. at the time of appointment
cannot be accepted. He stated that he had submitted four papers. But the papers
were not published on the date of his appointment. He had not given any
particulars about the journals or persons to whom he had submitted his papers
for publication. The only concrete thing he stated was that he had written four
books on English Grammar for school children. But these were elementary works
which could not be treated as equivalent to Ph.D. in English.
respondent that the Selection Committee was satisfied as to the quality and
standard of the work done by him. The College management has pointed out that
the experts from BHU failed to attend the Selection Committee meeting.
other expert who was in the Committee was the Supervisor of the respondent himself.
In any event, the appellant- College being the appointing authority was entitled to appoint the
respondent on ad hoc basis giving a chance to him to obtain his Ph.D. Degree
within a reasonable time.
of the view that the contention of the appellant-College must be upheld.
Although, there was considerable laxity on the part of the College authorities
in the way they have handled the case, we are of the view that without strong
grounds being made out, it would not be right to unseat the person who has now
been appointed as Lecturer in English pursuant to the second advertisement.
writ-petitioner was not qualified to be appointed as Lecture when he mad his
application pursuant to the advertisement dated 12th August, 1989. Even then he was appointed on ad hoc basis and was given a
chance to acquire the requisite qualification within a brief period. His ad hoc
appointment was extended once and thereafter it was not extended. The
petitioner did not have any subsisting right for continuation of service at
that point of time. His position has not improved by the acquisition of the
Ph.D. Degree in January, 1991 after he ceased to be a lecturer even on an ad
hoc basis. He could have applied in response to the advertisements that were
issued subsequently. He chose not to do so. We do not find any merit in the
writ petition. There is no reason to treat him as Lecturer even after the
period of ad hoc appointment was over and madhu Kapoor functioned as lecturer
in English for a period of more than three years.
that view of the matter, this appeal is allowed. The order of the High Court
dated 23.12.1994 is set aside. There will be no order as to costs.