Overruling an expert opinion by the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) that a B.Tech. degree in Electrical and Electronics is not equal to B.Tech. in Electrical, the Delhi High Court has held that the two degrees are equal and directed the Army to recruit a group of female graduates holding degrees in the former course.

The Army had refused appointment to these female applicants arguing that they did not qualify as they were not graduates in Electrical Engineering as required by it.

Similarly, the Army had denied appointment to some other applicants, who had applied for jobs following publication of advertisements for recruitments, saying that their degrees in Information Technology and Information and Control were not equivalent to degrees in Computer Science and Electronics and Instrumentation respectively.

However, the claims of equivalence by these students were certified by a two-member committee of expert of AICTE set up on an order by the Court.

The Court also noted that AICTE had taken a ridiculous and discriminatory stand that equivalence between a B.Tech degree in Electrical and Electronics to B.Tech. in Electrical holds for male students. It said that AICTE had approached the issue in a mechanical way, not in an analytical manner.

The Court also expressed its displeasure over the attitude of an officer of the Association of Indian Universities, which was asked to give its opinion as to whether a degree in Information Technology was equivalent to a degree in Computer Science.

The Association through an officer certified the equivalence of the two degrees but on issuing the certificate to one of the applicants he said that he had handed it to the applicant simply incorporating the opinion of the director of a group of professional colleges, the Court noted.

Setting aside the objections of the Army, a Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Manmohan Singh said: “Thus, the facts of the instant case attract the law declared by the Supreme Court ……justifying the arm of this Court to be extended to declare that the writ petitioners were eligible; having the requisite educational qualifications for the posts advertised and accordingly we issue a mandamus to the respondents to proceed ahead with the selection process pertaining to the writ petitioners keeping in view their merit position in the select list against the posts which they had applied for.”

The Bench also directed that a copy of this decision be sent to the Secretary, Union Ministry of Human Resources Development, with a direction that the Union Government would constitute a committee of experts in the field of technical education which would gather the course curriculum of all the technical degrees recognised by the University Grants Commission and would accord equivalence which would be displayed on the website of the Commission, AICTE and the Ministry of Human Resources Development.