Division Bench of Kerala High Court sets aside single judge order on Kerala University appointments

Order treats all the posts in the categories of professors/associate professors/assistant professors in various teaching departments of the university as one category for the purposes of community reservation

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday set aside a single judge’s verdict quashing a notification issued by the University of Kerala on the appointment of 58 teachers treating all the posts in the categories of professors/associate professors/assistant professors in various teaching departments of the university as one category for the purposes of community reservation.

The Bench, comprising Justice A.K. Jayasankaran Nambiar and Justice Mohammed Nias C.P., passed the order while allowing appeals filed by the University of Kerala and the State Government against the single judge’s ruling that had also quashed an amendment brought to the university statutes in this regard.

The court pointed out that the Union Government had recognised the principle of treating the university/college/institution as a single unit for the purposes of reservation of posts in direct recruitment in the teachers’ cadre.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) had also issued instructions to all Central and State universities and deemed universities coming under its purview to adopt the said practice in the respective educational institutions falling under their jurisdiction. The aforesaid facts fortify the contentions of the appellant State and university that the amendments brought about in the university statute could not be seen as unreasonable or arbitrary, the court observed.

The petitioners, who had challenged the amendments, had contended that the clubbing of posts of assistant professors, associate professors and professors of all departments to create separate cadres in relation to each of the above categories of posts and applying the rules of communal rotation to those cadres would effectively be tantamount to providing 100% reservation in single post cadres, which was legally and constitutionally impermissible.

Erroneous assumption

The Government and the university contended in their appeal that the single judge had proceeded on an erroneous assumption that all posts in the university were taken as a unit for the purpose of reservation. The single judge omitted to take note that the amendment contemplated application of reservation category-wise, taking all departments as one unit.

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