“At least in luncheons or dinners, some discipline is followed with guests taking the starters first, along with juice/soup, then proceeding to the main course, before winding up with dessert. No one takes them in the reverse order. But today, in the field of education, a person can take any course in any discipline in any order they like.”

This is what Justice V. Ramasubramanian of the Madras High Court observed on Tuesday while upholding a Teachers Recruitment Board (TRB)’s order declaring a candidate, who had obtained two degrees during the same academic year, as ineligible for appointment as a P.G. Assistant in English.

The petitioner sought a direction to the authorities to appoint her to the post for 2012.

“Quality and excellence become causalities”

The Judge observed, “Universities not only permit them (students) to undergo courses of different nature in different disciplines, but also permit students to undergo these courses in different order. They also permit them to ride two horses at the same time. Consequently, quality and excellence become casualties.”

S. Jagadeeswari was a graduate in Physics and completed M.A in English in 2003. Later, she completed B.A. in English Literature and B.Ed simultaneously. One was pursued by regular mode and the other through distance education.

According to TRB, the validity of two degrees obtained simultaneously from the same or different universities was referred to the Madras University.

Ineligible for appointment

By a letter dated January 2, 2011, the university appeared to have informed the board that candidates who had obtained degree in a subject and a B.Ed degree in the same year, by undergoing one of them through the open university and the other through the regular stream, had not been recognised so far. Therefore, the TRB considered the petitioner ineligible for appointment.

Mr. Justice Ramasubramanian said the authorities stand was not faulty. At every stage, there had been a wild goose chase for the executive and the judiciary to curtail shortcuts invented by candidates for securing employment.

Shortcuts curtailed

The first shortcut — studying PG degrees in different subjects other than the one undergone in the degree course — was curtailed by a G.O. in December 1999. The second one of acquiring PG degrees even without schooling was curtailed by a court decision followed by a G.O. in August 2009.

“Now, this is the next category of cases where persons seek to acquire two different degrees during the same academic year, for the purpose of overcoming the mischief sought to be undone by the aforesaid Government Orders and judgments.”

This had fortunately been nipped in the bud by the TRB by taking a stand even at the threshold that degrees obtained in the same academic year would not be recognised.

The authorities’ stand not to accept the candidature of persons who had undergone two different degree courses simultaneously was perfectly in order, the Judge said, and dismissed the writ petition.

“A candidate who obtained two degrees in the same year is ineligible for appointment”