Court holds M.A. without foundation degree invalid:
CHENNAI: A Master’s degree, obtained through the open university system, without a foundation degree, or the basic degree equivalent to a recognised degree, is invalid, the Madras High Court has ruled.
Such a degree is not valid for any purpose, including employment, it said.
A Division Bench of Justice P.K. Misra and Justice K.K. Sasidharan, passing orders on two writ appeals and a writ petition, said University Grants Commission (UGC) Regulations had made it clear that “no person is eligible to appear for the M.A. examination of the open university, unless such person had obtained the first degree.”
It further said: “There is no doubt that UGC regulations do not contemplate conferment of a Master’s degree through the open university system unless a person has got the first degree either as a formal student or under non-formal/distance education system. It is, thus, apparent that conferment of Master’s degree through the non-formal system or the open university system is contemplated only when the student desirous of taking such a degree has already obtained the first degree, namely, the graduation degree.”
Referring to the first proviso to Regulation 2(2), the Bench said unless a candidate successfully completed the first degree course of three-year duration, he could not be eligible for admission to the Master’s course. If a candidate had obtained any Master’s degree, such a degree could not be termed valid for any purpose, including employment.
“Various correspondence also indicate that even the persons, who had obtained the first degree by not completing the three-year degree course after Plus-Two, were required to undergo a bridge course for one year before becoming eligible for being … a candidate for M.A. examination of the open university system…There is not even a single correspondence on record to indicate that indirectly the UGC had ever approved allowing persons to appear for M.A. examination, though such persons had not obtained the first degree,” it said.
The matter relates to a writ petition filed against the appointment of N. Ramesh as principal of Film and Television Institute of Tamil Nadu. The appointment was challenged on the ground that he had obtained M.A. from AnnamalaiUniversity without any preceding formal education. The State Government, in its counter-affidavit, contended that as per an August 1997 order, a degree obtained through the open university was equivalent to the degree obtained in the regular stream for employment in a government department.
The UGC, which was impleaded as respondent as per the directions of the Supreme Court, said as per the UGC (Minimum Standards of Instructions for the grant of First Degree Through Non-formal/Distance Education in the Faculties of Arts, Humanities, Fine Arts, Music, Social Sciences, Commerce and Sciences) Regulations 1985, no student who had not successfully pursued the first degree course of three-year duration was eligible to seek admission to the Master’s course.
The Bench said Mr. Ramesh was not eligible to be considered for the post, as the M.A. degree obtained by him through the open university system without a first degree was not valid
Can Anyone provide the Judgement of above matter decided by Hon’ble Madras High Court.