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Monday, January 22, 2018

We, therefore, as a one-time relaxation in favour of those candidates who were enrolled during the academic years 2001-2005 and who, in terms of the judgment, are eligible to appear at the test to be conducted by AICTE, direct:- a] All such candidates, who wish to appear at the forthcoming test to be conducted by AICTE in May-June 2018 and who exercise option to appear at the test in terms of the judgment, can retain the degrees in 11 question and all the advantages flowing therefrom till one month after the declaration of the result of such test or till 31.07.2018 whichever is earlier. b] This facility is given as one-time exception so that those who have the ability and can pass the test in the first attempt itself, should not be put to inconvenience. If the candidates pass in such first attempt, they would be entitled to retain all the advantages. But if they fail or choose not to appear, the directions in the judgment shall apply, in that the degrees and all advantages shall stand suspended and withdrawn. At the cost of repetition, it is made clear that no more such chances or exceptions will be given or made. They will undoubtedly be entitled to appear on the second occasion in terms of the judgment but this exception shall not apply for such second attempt. c] We direct AICTE to conduct the test in May-June 2018 and declare the result well in time, in terms of our directions in the judgment and this Order. AICTE shall however extend the time to exercise the option to appear at the test suitably. 8] Except for the directions given in the preceding paragraph i.e. paragraph 7 and the clarification as regards courses leading to award of diplomas as mentioned hereinabove, we reject all the other submissions.

1
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
M.A. NOS.1795-1796 OF 2017
IN
CIVIL APPEAL NOS.17869-17870 OF 2017
ORISSA LIFT IRRIGATION CORP. LTD ……APPELLANTS
VERSUS
RABI SANKAR PATRO & ORS. .…..RESPONDENTS

WITH
Diary No(s).39667/2017
IA 138802/2017 in C.A. No.17870/2017)
MA 1807-1808/2017 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017
MA 1797-1798/2017 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017
MA 1799-1800/2017 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017
MA 1801-1802/2017 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017
MA 1803-1804/2017 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017
MA 1805-1806/2017 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017
MA 1864-1865/2017 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017
MA 1866-1867/2017 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017
MA 1870-1871/2017 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017
MA 1868-1869/2017 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017
MA 1872-1873/2017 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017
MA 11-12/2018 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017
MA 1874-1875/2017 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017
MA 1876-1877/2017 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017
Diary No(s). 42444/2017
IA 487/2018 in C.A. No.17870/2017)
 MA 5-6/2018 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017
Diary No(s).356/2018
IA 1080/2018 in C.A. No.17870/2017)
MA 17-18/2018 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017
MA 13-14/2018 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017
MA 15-16/2018 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017
Writ Petition (Civil) No. 1233 of 2017
M.A. No. 38 of 2018 in C.A. No.17907/2017
2
ORDER
Uday Umesh Lalit, J.
1. These applications have been preferred seeking clarification and
modification of directions issued by this Court in its Judgment and Order dated
03.11.2017 (“the judgment” for short) in Civil Appeal Nos.17869-17870 of
2017. Various directions were issued in the judgment and more particularly in
paragraph No.53 of the judgment. The gist of the applications and the
contentions advanced by the learned counsel were as follows:-
A] M.A. Nos. 1795-1796 of 2017 in CIVIL APPEAL Nos.17869-17870 of
2017 (I.A. No.138771 of 2017)
MA 1797-1798/2017 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017 (I.A. No.138778 of
2017)
 MA 1799-1800/2017 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017(I.A. No.13890 of
2017)
MA 1801-1802/2017 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017 (I.A. No.138791 of
2017)
MA 1803-1804/2017 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017 (I.A. No.138793 of
2017)
MA 1805-1806/2017 in C.A. No. 17869-17870/2017(I.A. No.138795 of
2017)
The applicants, holding diplomas in Engineering, enrolled themselves in
2005 in courses leading to award of B.Tech degree offered by Deemed to be
University in question through distance learning mode. Later, on the basis of
the degrees awarded by the Deemed to be Universities, they underwent
independent selection undertaken by Union Public Service Commission and
entered certain services as direct recruits and have presently either been
3
engaged in the same service or have advanced in career on the basis of such
selection by UPSC.
Mr. V. Giri, learned Senior Advocate submitted that the controversy in the
judgment was principally concerning the cases of in-service candidates who
were initially employed as diploma holders but while in service had been
awarded degrees in Engineering by Deemed to be Universities in question
through distance learning mode; and that this Court was not called upon to
consider cases where such degrees themselves became the foundation for a
subsequent employment or selection and further advancement in career. He
further submitted that an exception be made in favour of such candidates whose
qualifications were independently considered by an authority such as UPSC and
were selected through competitive selection process and in any case, even if the
Judgment were to apply to such candidates, the suspension of their degrees and
all advantages flowing therefrom till they pass the test as indicated in the
judgment ought not to be insisted upon. He submitted that unlike in-service
candidates who may not be losing their jobs, such candidates, who had
independently undergone fresh selection and were directly appointed would
lose their jobs completely and even if they were to successfully pass the test
conducted by AICTE, restoration of their original position and jobs would itself
become a difficult proposition.
B] M.A. Nos.13-14/2018 in C.A. No.17869-17870 of 2017(I.A. No.991 &
994 of 2018
4
M.A. Nos.15-16/2018 in C.A. No.17869-17870 of 2017(I.A. No.1019 of
2018
The applicants had completed B.Tech courses in Computer Science
through distance education mode in 2004. According to them, instructions were
imparted in ITM International and they were awarded degrees by Allahabad
Agricultural Institute, Deemed to be University. Later they acquired degrees in
M.Tech and other qualifications based on such B.Tech degree and have
thereafter advanced in career.
Ms. Meenakshi Arora, learned Senior Advocate while adopting the
submissions of Mr. V. Giri, learned Senior Advocate submitted that ITM
International is an Institution of repute and no infirmity could be attributed to
their degrees. Further, her clients in any case had undergone further selection
process where knowledge of the candidates was independently tested and they
were appointed in others posts.
C] Diary No.356 of 2018 in C.A. No.17869-17870 of 2017 (I.A. No.1080
of 2018)
M.A. Nos.17-18 of 2018 in C.A. No.17869-17870 of 2017 (I.A.
Nos.1049 and 1054 of 2018
The candidates had acquired first degrees in Engineering from a regular
and approved Institution and as such their first degrees are not invalid or
irregular on any count. However, these candidates had later acquired Master’s
degrees in Engineering from Deemed to be Universities through
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distanceM.A.1795-1796 of 2017 in C.A. Nos.17869-17870 of 2017(1).docx
education mode.
Mr. Kapil Sibal, learned Senior Advocate invited our attention to the
advertisement issued by AICTE in which all candidates including those who
had secured Master’s degrees in Engineering from Deemed to be Universities in
question through distance education mode were also required to appear at the
test. In his submission this Court was principally concerned with first degrees
in engineering which were acquired through distance education mode and not
the Master’s degrees. He further submitted that those candidates who had
acquired such Masters’ Degrees in engineering were not covered by the
judgment.
D] M.A. Nos.1866-67/2017 in C.A. Nos.17869-17870 of 2017 (I.A.
Nos.141892 of 2017
M.A. Nos.1868-1869/2017 in C.A. Nos.17869-17870 of 2017 (I.A.
Nos.141912 of 2017
M.A.Nos.1872-73/17 in C. A. Nos.17869-17870 of 2017 (I.A.
Nos.141948 of 2017 ON IA 516/2018 ON IA516/2018
The applicants were awarded diplomas in Engineering through distance
education mode by the concerned Deemed to be Universities.
Mr. Dhruv Mehta, learned Senior Advocate invited our attention to
paragraphs 34 and 46 of the Judgment and submitted that this Court was
concerned with courses leading to degrees of Engineering and not to diplomas
and as such rigor of the Judgment ought not to apply to pure and simply
diploma holders. In his submission, the public notice issued by AICTE was
6
beyond the scope of the matter.
E] Diary No.39667 of 2017 in C. A. No.17869-17870 of 2017 (I.A.
No.138802 of 2017)
M.A. No.S1807-1808 of 2017 in C. A. No.17869-17870 of 2017 (I.A.
Nos.138799 of 2017
Diary No.42444 of 2017 in C.A. Nos.17869-17870 of 2017 (I.A. No.487
of 2018
M.A. Nos.5-6 of 2017 in C.A. No.17869-17870 of 2017 (I.A. No.511 of
2018
In the present case, the applicants had enrolled themselves in courses
offered by Vinayaka Missions Research Foundation (VMRF) through distance
education mode.
Mr. Anupam Lal Das, learned Advocate submitted that as is evident from
the affidavit of Mr. Ved Prakash, Chairman, UGC as extracted in the judgment,
VMRF was granted Deemed to be University status for its excellence in
subjects including engineering and technology unlike other Deemed to be
Universities, namely, JRN, IASE and AAI. He invited our attention to
Paragraphs 21, 34 and 39 of the judgment and submitted that the case of VMRF
stood on a different footing and the courses offered by VMRF were not in any
way found to be on the wrong side.
F] M.A. Nos.1874-1875/2017 in C.A. No.17869/2017 (I.A. No.141960 of
2017)
M.A. Nos.1876-1877/2017 in C.A. No.17869/2017 (I.A.
No.141971/2017
These applicants after being awarded degrees in Engineering by Deemed
7
to be Universities through distance education mode had completed their
post-graduate courses.
While adopting submissions of Mr. V. Giri and Ms. Meenakshi Arora,
learned Senior Advocates, Mr. R.S. Suri, learned Senior Advocate submitted
that some weightage be given to the higher qualifications acquired by
candidates.
G] M.A. Nos.11-12/2018 in C.A. Nos.17869-17870 of 2017 (I.A. Nos.972/
2017, 644/2018, 645/2018 and 973/2018
The applicants had acquired degrees in Mining Engineering through
distance education mode and have advanced in their career in NMDC, a
Statutory Corporation.
Mr. Vikramjit Banerjee, leaned Senior Advocate submitted that their
ability was tested by said organization and his clients be exempted from
appearing in examination.
H] Writ Petition Civil No.1233 of 2017
These applicants were awarded degrees in Engineering through distance
education mode by Deemed to be Universities in question. It is stated that most
of the applicants have joined Private, Corporate and Government services and
some of them are in Corporate jobs and even in Foreign Countries. Some of
them are stated to have obtained M.Tech and further degrees and have advanced
in life.
8
Mr. Ranajit Kumar, Mr. P.N. Mishra and Mr. Huzefa Ahmadi, learned
Senior Advocates, appearing for the applicants advanced submissions on lines
similar to the submissions advanced by Mr. V. Giri, Ms. Arora and Mr. Sibal.
I] M.A. No. 38 of 2018 in C.A. No.17907/2017
The applicant, IASE, Deemed to be University seeks clarification that the
judgment applied only to courses leading to degrees in Engineering awarded by
Deemed to be Universities through distance education mode and that diploma
courses are not covered by the judgment.
Mr. M.L. Verma, learned Senior Advocate invited our attention to the
advertisement issued by AICTE. His submissions on the issue in question are
on lines similar to the submissions advanced by Mr. Dhruv Mehta, learned
Senior Advocate.
2] We also heard Mr. Maninder Singh, learned Additional Solicitor General
who appeared on behalf of AICTE.
3] It is true, as is evident from paragraphs 34 and 46 of the judgment that the
controversy in the present case pertained to validity of degrees in Engineering
conferred by the Deemed to be Universities through distance education mode
and this Court was not called upon to consider validity of diplomas conferred
by such Deemed to be Universities. However the advertisement issued by
AICTE covers diploma courses as well. We therefore accept the submissions
advanced by Mr. Dhruv Mehta and Mr. M.L. Verma, learned Senior Advocates
9
and clarify that validity of such courses leading to diplomas was not the subject
matter of the judgment.
4] At the same time, courses leading to award of degrees, whether graduate
or post graduate degrees, was certainly the matter in issue. We therefore reject
the submission of Mr. Kapil Sibal, learned Senior Advocate and do not find any
infirmity in the understanding of and the advertisement issued by AICTE.
5] Mr. Anupam Lal Das, learned Advocate is right that JRN, AAI and IASE
had no expertise in the field or subjects of Engineering and the status of
Deemed Universities conferred on them was not because of their excellence in
the field of Engineering. As against these three Deemed to be Universities, the
case of VMRF stood on a better footing as its field of activity and excellence
also included subjects in Engineering. However that was not the only basis of
the judgment. The facts still remain that conferral of degrees in Engineering
through distance education mode was never approved in principle by AICTE
and the Study Centres were never inspected or approved. We therefore reject
the submission of Mr. Anupam Lal Das, learned Advocate.
6] If award of degrees in Engineering through distance education mode by
Deemed to be Universities, as a concept or principle was not accepted by
AICTE, it is immaterial whether the Study Centre in question was ITM
International. Said Institution was not by itself authorized to award degrees in
Engineering on its own nor was it affiliated to any State or Central University at
10
the relevant time. The courses conducted by said institution led to award of
degrees of AAI, which had no expertise or excellence in the field of
Engineering and through distance education mode. We therefore reject the
submission advanced by Ms. Meenakshi Arora, learned Senior Advocate.
7] We now turn to the general submission advanced by all the learned
counsel that the candidates after securing the degrees in Engineering through
distance education mode, have advanced in career and that their ability was
tested at various levels and as such requirement of passing the examination in
terms of the judgment be dispensed with in their case. We cannot make any
such exception. The infirmity in their degrees is basic and fundamental and
cannot be wished away. At the same time, we find some force in their
submission that if the suspension of their degrees and all advantages were to
apply as indicated in the judgment, the concerned candidates may lose their jobs
and even if they were to successfully pass the test, restoration of their jobs and
present position would pose some difficulty.
We, therefore, as a one-time relaxation in favour of those candidates who
were enrolled during the academic years 2001-2005 and who, in terms of the
judgment, are eligible to appear at the test to be conducted by AICTE, direct:-
a] All such candidates, who wish to appear at the forthcoming test to
be conducted by AICTE in May-June 2018 and who exercise option to
appear at the test in terms of the judgment, can retain the degrees in
11
question and all the advantages flowing therefrom till one month after the
declaration of the result of such test or till 31.07.2018 whichever is
earlier.
b] This facility is given as one-time exception so that those who have
the ability and can pass the test in the first attempt itself, should not be
put to inconvenience. If the candidates pass in such first attempt, they
would be entitled to retain all the advantages. But if they fail or choose
not to appear, the directions in the judgment shall apply, in that the
degrees and all advantages shall stand suspended and withdrawn. At the
cost of repetition, it is made clear that no more such chances or
exceptions will be given or made. They will undoubtedly be entitled to
appear on the second occasion in terms of the judgment but this
exception shall not apply for such second attempt.
c] We direct AICTE to conduct the test in May-June 2018 and declare
the result well in time, in terms of our directions in the judgment and this
Order. AICTE shall however extend the time to exercise the option to
appear at the test suitably.
8] Except for the directions given in the preceding paragraph i.e. paragraph
7 and the clarification as regards courses leading to award of diplomas as
mentioned hereinabove, we reject all the other submissions.
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9] All applications, petitions and writ petitions stand disposed of in
aforesaid terms. No costs.
………………………..J.
(Adarsh Kumar Goel)
…………………..……J.
(Uday Umesh Lalit)
New Delhi,
22nd January, 2018.