those candidates who had obtained M.Phil. degree through distance education programme are not qualified.= on the basis of M.Phil. degree which was obtained by them by distance education mode prior to 2009, it is necessary that their eligibility for the post be examined taking into consideration the Regulations 2009 of UGC (Minimum Qualifications for Appointment). The advertisement and selection for Guest Lecturers having been conducted in the year 2012 when both the Regulations 2009 of UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure) and Regulations 2009 of UGC(Minimum Qualifications for Appointment) were applicable. it is clear that regulations are prospective in nature and may not affect the qualifications granted by an university or institution prior to the enforcement of the regulation. We thus do not find any error in the judgment of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh. Learned Single Judge had thus rightly directed the respondent to consider the case of the writ petitioners on the basis of M.Phil. degree and declare the result alongwith other candidates.

1
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO.871 OF 2018
arising out of SLP (C)No. 26528 of 2013
THE STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH & ORS.   …APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
MANOJ SHARMA & ORS.                 …RESPONDENT(S)
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO.872 OF 2018
arising out of SLP (C)No. 26529 of 2013
THE STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH & ORS.  …APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
ALOK TRIPATHI & ORS.              …RESPONDENT(S)
J U D G M E N T
ASHOK BHUSHAN, J.
Leave granted.
2. These two appeals have been filed against
the identically worded judgments of High Court
of   Madhya   Pradesh   dated   05.12.2012   and
17.01.2013   respectively   dismissing   the   writ
2
appeal   filed   by   the   State   of   Madhya   Pradesh.
The facts and issue in both the appeals being
common, it is sufficient to refer to the facts
and   pleadings   in   civil   appeal   arising   out   of
SLP (C) No. 26528 of 2017 for deciding both the
appeals.   The   parties   shall   be   referred   to   as
described in the writ petition.
3. The   writ   petitioners   had   passed   M.Phil.
from   different   universities   under   distance
education   (between   the   year   2007   to   2009)
before   11.07.2009.   Writ   petitioners   were
engaged   as   guest   lecturers   in   different
Government/Semi   Government   Colleges   since
before   the   year   2009.   Higher   Education
Department of the Government of Madhya Pradesh
issued an order dated 22.02.2012 on the subject
“Arrangement   of   Guest   Lecturers   in   Government
Colleges   for   the   remaining   period  of   Academic
Session 2011­12 and upcoming sessions”.
4. The Government order provided for criteria
for   selection   under   which   various   marks   were
3
allocated   for   Ph.D   and   NET/SET,   M.Phil.   and
NET/SET.   Regional   Additional   Director,   Higher
Education,   Gwalior   Madhya   Pradesh   issued   an
advertisement   dated   21.04.2012   inviting
application for the post of Guest Lecturer in
different   subjects.   Writ   Petitioners   had
applied for different posts of Guest Lecturers
through   online   mode.   Their   applications   were
not   accepted.     On   inquiry,   they   came   to   know
that those candidates who had obtained M.Phil.
degree through distance education programme are
not qualified.
5. Writ   Petition   No.   3290   of   2012,  Manoj
Sharma   and   others   v.   State   of   Madhya   Pradesh
was filed wherein High Court passed an interim
order   on   14.05.2012   and   directing   the
respondents   to   accept  the  application  form   of
the candidates and the result of the candidates
was to be kept in the seal­cover.
6. Writ   Petitioners   on   the   strength   of   the
interim   order   submitted   their   applications.
4
Writ   Petition   No.   3290   of   2012,   Manoj   Sharma
and others versus State of Madhya Pradesh was
finally disposed off by learned Single Judge on
29.08.2012,   holding   that   those   candidates   who
have   cleared   M.Phil.   qualification   before   the
Regulations   2009,   namely,   University   Grants
Commission     (Minimum   Standards   and   Procedure
for   the   award   of   M.Phil./Ph.D   Degree)
Regulations,   2009   (hereinafter   shall   be
referred   to   as   “Regulations   2009   of   UGC
(Minimum Standards and Procedure”) are eligible
and   their   result   be   declared.   Learned   Single
Judge issued following directions:
“It is further reported that although
petitioner’s case was considered, but
by   way   of   interim   order,   it   was
directed that his result will not be
declared.   Now   final   order   is   passed.
Petitioner   is   found   eligible,
therefore,   respondents   shall   consider
the case of the petitioner as eligible
on the basis of the aforesaid Master
of Philosophy certificate and declare
the   result   alongwith   other
candidates.”
7. The   State   of   Madhya   Pradesh   filed   a   writ
5
appeal against the judgments of learned Single
Judge and Division Bench of the High Court vide
its   judgment   dated   05.12.2012   dismissed   the
appeal.   The   State   is   in   appeal   against   the
judgment of the Division Bench.
8. Learned   counsel   for   the   appellant   submits
that in view of the regulations framed by the
University Grants Commission, Regulations 2009
of   UGC   (Minimum   Standards  and  Procedure),  the
M.Phil./Ph.D.   Programmes   conducted   through
distance   education   are   not   acceptable.   He
submits that since M.Phil. degree of the writ
petitioners   was   by   distance   education   mode,
they   do   not   fulfil   the   qualification   for
appointment as Guest Lecturer and the judgment
of the learned Single Judge and Division Bench
taking a contrary view is unsustainable.
9. No   one   has   appeared   on   behalf   of   the
respondent at the time of hearing. Although a
counter   affidavit  on   behalf   of   the   Respondent
No. 1, Manoj Sharma has been filed, supporting
6
the view taken by the learned Single Judge and
the   Division   Bench.   We   have   considered   the
submission   of   the   learned   counsel   for   the
appellant and perused the record.
10. The     Regulations   2009   of   UGC   on   Minimum
Standards   and   Procedure   were   published   in
Gazette   of   India   on   11.7.2009.   Regulation   5
which is relevant, is to the following effect:
“Regulation   5.   Notwithstanding
anything   contained   in   these
Regulations   or   any   other   Rule   or
regulation,   for   the   time   being   in
force,   no   University,   Institution,
Deemed   to   be   University   and
College/Institution   of   National
Importance   shall   conduct   M.Phil   and
Ph.D   Programmes   through   distance
education mode.”
11. Learned   Single   Judge   and   Division   Bench
took   the   view   that   according   to   Regulations
2009 of UGC on Minimum Standards and Procedure,
it was only with effect from 11.7.2009 that any
university,   institution   or   deemed   university
were   prohibited   from   conducting   M.Phil./Ph.D.
7
through   distance   education   mode   hence,   degree
obtained   prior   to   enforcement   of   said
regulation are not washed out. The High Court
has held that Regulations 2009 of UGC (Minimum
Standards   and   Procedure)   are   prospective   in
nature   and   shall   not   operate   retrospectively.
Learned   Single   Judge   took   the   view   that
Regulations 2009 of UGC (Minimum Standards and
Procedure)   being   not   retrospective   shall   not
wipe   out   the   M.Phil.   qualification   already
acquired   by   the   writ   petitioners   prior   to
above­said regulation.
12. Regulation 3 under Regulations 2009 of UGC
(Minimum   Standards   and   Procedure),   clearly
provides   for   enforcement   for   the   regulation
from   the   date   of   their   publication   in   the
Gazette of India. Regulation 3 is as follows:
“They   shall   come   into   force   with
effect   from   the   date   of   their
publication in the Gazette of India.”
13. Thus,   it   is   clear   that   regulations   are
prospective   in   nature   and   may   not   affect   the
8
qualifications   granted   by   an   university   or
institution   prior   to   the   enforcement   of   the
regulation.   We   thus   do   not   find   any   error   in
the   judgment   of   the   High   Court   of   Madhya
Pradesh. Learned Single Judge had thus rightly
directed the respondent to consider the case of
the   writ   petitioners   on   the   basis   of   M.Phil.
degree   and   declare   the   result  alongwith   other
candidates.
14. There   is   another   issue   which   needs   to   be
noticed at this juncture. On the same day when
regulations pertaining to Minimum Standards and
Procedure for the award of M.Phil./Ph.D Degree
were   published,   another   regulations   were
published in the Gazette on the same day i.e.
on   11.7.2009,   namely,   UGC(Minimum
Qualifications   for   Appointment   and   Career
Advancement   of   Teachers   in   Affiliated
Universities   and   Institutions)   (3rd  amendment)
Regulations,   2009   (hereinafter   shall   be
referred to as “Regulations 2009 of UGC(Minimum
9
Qualifications for Appointment”).
15. University   Grants   Commission   had   issued
regulations   relating   to   minimum   qualification
for the post of lecturer in the year 2000 which
regulations   were   amended   in   2002   and   2006.
According to Regulations 2000, Regulation 1.3.3
provides   for   qualification   for   Lecturer   as
follows:
“1.3.3 Lecturer
Good academic record with at least 55%
of the marks or, an equivalent grade
of B  in the 7 point scale with latter
grades O, A, B, C, D, E and F at the
Master’s degree level, in the relevant
subject from an Indian University, or,
an   equivalent   degree   from   a   foreign
university.
Besides   fulfilling   the   above
qualifications, candidates should have
cleared the eligibility test (NET) for
lecturers   conducted   by   the   UGC,   CSIR
or similar test accredited by the UGC.
Note:   NET   shall   remain   the
compulsory   requirement   for
appointment   as   Lecturer   even   for
candidates   having   Ph.D.   degree.
However,   the   candidates   who   have
completed M. Phil. Degree or have
10
submitted   Ph.D.   thesis   in   the
concerned   subject   up   to   31st
December, 1993, are exempted from
appearing in the NET examination.”
16. As   noted   above,   the   above­mentioned
regulations   were   amended   and   amendments   dated
11.7.2009   were   relevant   whereas   the   note   as
contained in Regulation 1.3.3 was substituted by
following:
“NET/SLET   shall   remain   the   minimum
eligibility   condition   for   recruitment
and   appointment   of   Lecturers   in
Universities /Colleges/Institutions.
Provided,   however,   that
candidates,   who   are   or   have   been
awarded Ph.D. Degree in compliance of
the   “University   Grants
Commission(minimum   standards   and
procedure   for   award   of   Ph.D   Degree),
Regulation   2009,   shall   be   exempted
from   the   requirement   of   the   minimum
eligibility condition of NET/SLET for
recruitment   and appointment   of
Assistant   Professor   or   equivalent
positions   in   Universities/Colleges
/Institutions.”
17. It has to be noticed that the amendment as
made in the minimum qualification, now provides
11
that the exemption from NET shall be given to
the   Ph.D.   degree   holders,   only   when   Ph.D.
degree has been awarded to them in compliance
with   the   Regulations   2009   of   UGC   (Minimum
Standards   and   Procedure).   The   above   provision
thus, made it mandatory that for lecturers NET
qualification is necessary and exemption shall
be   granted   to   those   Ph.D.   degree   holders   who
have   obtained  Ph.D.   degree   in  accordance   with
the Regulations 2009 of UGC (Minimum Standards
and Procedure). The purpose and object of the
above   amendments   in   both   Regulations   2009   of
UGC   (Minimum   Standards   and   Procedure)  as   well
as  Regulations   2009   of   UGC   (Minimum
Qualifications   for   Appointment)   is   not   far   to
seek.   There   has   been   challenge   to   amendments
made   in   Regulations   2009   of   UGC   (Minimum
Qualifications for Appointment)in so far as it
denied the benefit to Ph.D degree holders who
had   obtained   Ph.D   prior   to   11.7.2009.     Writ
Petitions  were   filed   in   different  High   Courts
12
challenging   the   regulations   on   different
grounds   including   that   regulations   are
arbitrary   and   violative   of   Article   14   which
discriminate the Ph.D. degree holders who have
obtained   Ph.D.   degree   prior   to   11.7.2009   and
those  who  obtained   the   degree  after   11.7.2009
in accordance with  Regulations 2009 of UGC on
Minimum Standards and Procedure.
18. The challenge to regulations were repelled
by different High Courts whereas Allahabad High
Court  vide  its judgment dated 6.4.2012 in  Dr.
Ramesh   Kumar   Yadav   and   Another   versus
University   of  Allahabad and  Others  has   upheld
the   challenge.   Appeals   were   filed  against  the
judgment   of   the   Rajasthan   High   Court,   Delhi
High   Court   and   Madras   High   Court   by   the
candidates whose writ petitions were dismissed
as   well   as   against   the   judgment   of   the
Allahabad   High   Court   dated   06.04.2012,
upholding   the   contention   of   the   candidates.
This   Court   decided   all   the   appeals   by   its
13
judgment   reported   in  P.   Susheela   and   Others
versus University Grants Commission and Others,
(2015)   8   SCC   129.  This   Court   upheld   the
judgment   of   the   High   Courts   of   Rajasthan,
Madras and Delhi and set aside the judgment of
the   Allahabad   High   Court   dated   6.4.2012,
upholding   that   the   amendments   made   in
Regulations 2009 of UGC(Minimum Qualifications
for   Appointment)   were   valid   and   there   is   a
valid classification between the candidates who
have obtained degree prior to Regulations 2009
of   UGC   (Minimum   Standards   and   Procedure)   and
those   who   obtained   the   degree   in   accordance
with the above­said regulation.
19. Thus,   rejecting   the   contention   of   the
private respondent, following was laid down in
paragraph Nos. 16, 17 and 18:
“16.   Similar   is   the   case   on   facts
here. A vested right would arise only
if any of the appellants before us had
actually been appointed to the post of
Lecturer/Assistant   Professors.   Till
that date, there is no vested right in
any of the appellants. At the highest,
14
the appellants could only contend that
they have a right to be considered for
the   post   of   Lecturer/Assistant
Professor.   This   right   is   always
subject   to   minimum   eligibility
conditions, and till such time as the
appellants   are   appointed,   different
conditions   may   be   laid   down   at
different   times.   Merely   because   an
additional   eligibility   condition   in
the form of a NET test is laid down,
it does not mean that any vested right
of   the   appellants   is   affected,   nor
does   it   mean   that   the   regulation
laying   down   such   minimum   eligibility
condition   would   be   retrospective   in
operation.   Such   condition   would   only
be prospective as it would apply only
at   the   stage   of   appointment.   It   is
clear, therefore, that the contentions
of   the   private   appellants   before   us
must fail.
17. One of the learned counsel for the
petitioners   argued,   based   on   the
language   of   the   direction   of   the
Central   Government   dated   12­11­2008
that   all   that   the   Government   wanted
UGC to do was to “generally” prescribe
NET as a qualification. But this did
not   mean   that   UGC   had   to   prescribe
this   qualification   without   providing
for   any   exemption.   We   are   unable   to
accede to this argument for the simple
reason   that   the   word   “generally”
precedes the word “compulsory” and it
is   clear   that   the   language   of   the
direction   has   been   followed   both   in
letter   and   in   spirit   by   the   UGC
regulations of 2009 and 2010.
15
18.   The   arguments   based   on Article
14 equally have to be rejected. It is
clear   that   the   object   of   the
directions   of   the   Central   Government
read   with   the   UGC   Regulations   of
2009/2010   are   to   maintain   excellence
in   standards   of   higher   education.
Keeping this object in mind, a minimum
eligibility   condition   of   passing   the
national   eligibility   test   is   laid
down.   True,   there   may   have   been
exemptions   laid   down   by   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   UGC   to   see   that   such
standards do not get diluted.”
20. Thus, from the above judgment, it is clear
that   NET   qualification   is   now   minimum
qualification   for   appointment   of   Lecturer   and
exemption   granted   to   M.Phil.   degree   holders
have   been   withdrawn   and   exemption   is   allowed
only   to   those   Ph.D.   degree   holders   who   have
obtained   the   Ph.D.   degree   in   accordance   with
11.7.2009 regulations, namely, Regulations 2009
of   UGC   (Minimum   Standards   and   Procedure).
16
Although, this aspect has not been noticed by
the   High   Court   but   since   the   learned   Single
Judge   has   directed   the   consideration   of   the
case   of   the   writ   petitioner   on   the   basis   of
M.Phil.   degree   which   was   obtained   by   them   by
distance   education   mode   prior   to   2009,   it   is
necessary  that   their   eligibility   for   the   post
be   examined   taking   into   consideration   the
Regulations 2009 of UGC (Minimum Qualifications
for   Appointment).   The   advertisement   and
selection   for   Guest   Lecturers   having   been
conducted   in   the   year   2012   when   both   the
Regulations 2009 of UGC (Minimum Standards and
Procedure) and  Regulations 2009 of UGC(Minimum
Qualifications   for   Appointment)   were
applicable.
21. There   is   nothing   on   the   record   as   to
whether   after   the   judgment   of   the   learned
Single   Judge,   writ   petitioners’   result   was
declared   and   they  were   selected   or   appointed.
This Court has also passed an interim order of
17
16.08.2013   staying   the   operation   of   the
judgment   of   the   High   Court   for   the   period   of
three   months.   No   further   orders   have   been
passed extending the interim order.
22. We   are  thus  of  the   view  that  judgment  of
the   High   Court   needs   no   interference   in   this
appeal, however, the appeals are to be disposed
off   with   the   direction   to   consider   the
eligibility of the writ petitioner taking also
into consideration the Regulations 2009 of UGC
(Minimum Qualifications for Appointment).
23. Both   the   appeals   are   disposed   off
accordingly.
…………………….J.
( A.K. SIKRI )
…………………….J.
( ASHOK BHUSHAN )
NEW DELHI,
January 25, 2018.