In view of these settled principles, the contents of Regulation 33 of Coal Mines Regulations are liable to be treated only as general in nature and content, and it cannot be considered as having overriding effect. Further, these Regulations have provided for the minimum academic requirements for one to possess before he can be appointed as an Engineer in a Mine. If, the employer is insisting for a superior qualification to be possessed than the one provided by the Coal Mines Regulations, no employee can make a grievance of it. The primary aim of the Coal Mines Regulations is the safety of both the mine and those who work therein. By the employers insistence of a superior qualification it cannot be said the safety of the Mine or the other Miners is compromised. I am, therefore, of the opinion that the respondents are justified in insisting for the qualification to be obtained by a regular mode for one to be rendered eligible to be considered for recruitment. Hence, both the writ petitions fail and accordingly, are dismissed.

THE HONBLE SRI JUSTICE NOOTY RAMAMOHANA RAO            

WRIT PETITION Nos.4962 of 2015 and batch  
       

22-06-2015

Kukkala Venkateswarlu and two others.Petitioners

The Acharya Nagarjuna University, Rep. by its Registrar, Nagarjuna Nagar,
Guntur Town and District, Andhra Pradesh and seven others .Respondents  

Counsel for the petitioners: Sri Pulla Rao Yellanki

Counsel for the respondents:Sri Srinivas Mantha

#M. Srinivas and five others.Petitioners

$The Singareni Collieries Company Limited, Kothagudem Collieries PO 507101,
Khammam District, Telangana State Represented by Chairman & Managing Director  
and another .Respondents  

!Counsel for the petitioners:  Smt. Udaya Sri

^Counsel for the respondents   :   -----

<GIST:

>HEAD NOTE:  

?Cases referred
1.      2009 (4) SCC 590
2.      (2003) 9 SCC 564
3.      (1987) 4 SCC 671
4.      (1995) 4 SCC 104


THE HONBLE SRI JUSTICE NOOTY RAMAMOHANA RAO            
WRIT PETITION Nos.4962 of 2015 and 7632 of 2015  

COMMON ORDER:    

        In both these cases a common question touching upon the
eligibility of the petitioners for selection to the posts of Assistant
Engineer (E & M) notified by the respondent  Singareni Collieries
Company Limited arises for consideration. There are 3 petitioners
in W.P.No.4962 of 2015 and 6 petitioners in W.P.No.7632 of 2015.
        The case of the petitioners in W.P.No.4962 of 2015 is that
they have obtained B.Tech/B.E. degrees in Mechanical Engineering
from Acharya Nagarjuna University and Andhra Universiyt as the
case be, whereas the 6 petitioners in W.P.No.7632 of 2015 have
joined the service of the Singareni Collieries Company Limited with
ITI certificate and subsequently passed the Section A & B of
Associate Membership Examination conducted by the Institution of
Mechanical Engineers (India). It is their case that a pass in Section
A & B of Associate Membership Course in Mechanical Engineering  
from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (India) is recognized
by the Government of India, Ministry of Human Resources
Development, Department of Higher Education and All India
Council for Technical Education (AICTE) as equivalent to AMIE.
Therefore, the petitioners claim that they are eligible to be
recruited as Assistant Engineer (E & M) for which the recruitment
process is initiated by the Singareni Collieries Company Limited. It
is their further case that though they have applied for recruitment,
the Singareni Collieries Company Limited has not considered them
as eligible and qualified for participating in the recruitment process
and hence did not include their names in the list of eligible
candidates displayed for appearing at the written test initially
slated to be held on 01.03.2015, but was postponed.  Hence, these
writ petitions.
        Heard Sri G. Vidya Sagar, learned Senior Counsel for
petitioners and Sri J. Rama Chandra Rao, learned Additional
Advocate General for Singareni Collieries and Sri M. Sreenivas and
Dr. P.B.Vijay Kumar for Nagarjuna and Andhra Universities and
Sri B.Narayana Reddy for UOI.
      Through circular No.42 dated 16.01.2015 the Singareni
Collieries Company Limited has notified that it has been approved
to fill-up certain vacancies in Executive Cadre by inviting
applications from among the eligible internal employees working
with the company. Amongst others, 17 vacancies of Assistant
Engineers (E & M) (Men only) in E-2 grade have been notified for
internally qualified and eligible candidates to apply for the said
post. The number of years of experience required for these posts as
on 01.01.2015 is stated as 3 years. The minimum qualifications
notified are as follows:
        B.E., B.Tech., AMIE or its equivalent qualification in
Mechanical/Electrical & Electronics Engineering
(Regular) from the institution approved by UGC & AICTE
with 3 years or more service in any capacity as on
01.01.2015.

        As was spelt out supra, the case of the petitioners is that the
Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource
Development, Government of India, through its notification dated
24.11.2006 has brought out that the Institution of Mechanical
Engineers (India) has submitted a request along with the requisite
material for review and reconsideration of the earlier decision of
the Ministry withdrawing the recognition of the diploma/degree
courses run by it. The department appears to have got the said
material re-examined by AICTE. The AICTE through its Expert
Committee re-examined the content of both the courses offered by
the Institute and submitted its recommendations with revision of
syllabus for both the courses. Thereafter, the High Level
Committee for according recognition of educational qualifications
considered the matter at its meeting held on 16.10.2006 and made
its recommendations. Based thereon the Government of India
decided to restore the recognition to the courses run by the IME,
Mumbai with effect from 16.10.2006 subject to the condition that
the IME should run the courses based on the new syllabus
approved by the AICTE. As per the approval of the AICTE, the
Technician Engineers Course part I & II (Diploma Level) will have
22 papers in place of existing 14 papers and Degree level course of
Section A & B of Associate Membership will include 24 papers in
place of 11 papers at present. In addition to this, there will
be 9 elective subjects. After completing theory papers, students will
have to undergo at least 3 months mandatory
apprenticeship/practical training/ project report at an All India
Council for Technical Education approved Polytechnic for Part I &
II of Technician Engineers Course for award of Certificate
equivalent to Diploma in Mechanical Engineering and the
Apprenticeship/Practical training of the same duration in AICTE
approved Degree Colleges for award of Certificate equivalent to
Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering for Section A & B of
Associate Membership Course. This notification has also permitted
those students who were registered prior to 10.06.2002 to be
allowed to complete the courses with pre-revised syllabus till the
next scheduled examination, to be held in December 2006 and
their Degree/Diploma will be recognized for employment in Central
Government. Those who do not complete their courses by that time
(December, 2006) will have to follow the revised syllabus.
        Though all the 6 petitioners in W.P.No.7632 of 2015 have
asserted that they have passed the Section A & B of Associate
Membership Course conducted by the Institution of Mechanical
Engineers in the post December 2006 period, the petitioner
Nos.1 to 5 have enclosed the certificates issued by the Institution
of Mechanical Engineers (India) vouching for the fact that they
have passed the exam sometime during 2010-2011, and the  
6th petitioner, it is asserted in Paragraph No.2 (vi) that he passed
the said examination in December, 2012. Hence, based upon the
notification issued by the Department of Higher Education,
Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India,
dated 24.11.2006 the petitioners would assert that they are
qualified to compete for the post of Assistant Engineer (E & M) in
E-2 grade notified by the Singareni Collieries Company Limited.
        The General Manager (Personnel) of the Singareni Collieries
Company has filed separate counter affidavits in W.P.No.4962 of
2015 and 7632 of 2015.
      In the counter affidavit filed in W.P.No.4962 of 2015, it is
pointed out that the Singareni Collieries Company has clearly
indicated in the notification that such of those internal candidates
having B.E., B.Tech., AMIE or its equivalent qualification in the
respective discipline (regular) from the institution approved by
UGC and AICTE with three or more number of years of service in
any capacity as on 01.01.2015, alone are eligible to apply.
Therefore, it is clearly spelt out by the Company that only those
candidates who have studied the requisite course by regular mode
in any institution approved by UGC and AICTE are alone eligible.
Since, the petitioners are possessing B.E. & B.Tech. degree having
not studied the said course by regular mode, but through
correspondence course, while being employed with the Company,
they cannot seek any eligibility for appearing for the selections.  In
paragraph 7 of the counter affidavit, it is hinted that the
petitioners are required to satisfy the eligibility qualifications as
spelt out in the circular dated 16.01.2015 and they cannot seek an
amendment of the requirements spelt out therein in any manner
and only such of those candidates who have studied the courses
concerned by regular mode are alone eligible.
      A reference was also made to a public notice taken out by
the All India Council for Technical Education that was published in
all newspapers on 12.04.2011, wherein the policy of AICTE not to
recognize the qualifications acquired through distance education
mode in the fields of Engineering and Technology has been brought
out, for the benefit and notice of general public.  It was also
brought out that AICTE has the policy to consider only MBA and
MCA Courses through distance mode for its recognition provided
the same has been approved by the tripartite committee of AICTE,
UGC and DEC (Distance Education Council).
      In the counter affidavit filed in W.P.No.7632 of 2015, it has
been pointed that the AICTE has communicated to the Singareni
Collieries Company on 07.12.2009, pursuant to a query raised by
it on 18.11.2009, that the courses offered by Institution of
Mechanical Engineers (India) Mumbai, are not recognized by
AICTE.  The communication of AICTE dated 07.12.2009 has been  
enclosed to the counter affidavit.  In view of non-recognition of the
courses offered by IME by AICTE, a specific stand is taken in
paragraph 13 of the counter affidavit that the recognition and
approval by Apex Statutory body of AICTE or UGC is mandatory as
held by the Supreme Court in a catena of judgments.  Further the
respondents have also placed reliance upon a public notice on
professional courses in Engineering and Technology through ODL
(Open Distance Learning) mode dated 11.03.2015 issued by UGC.  
Thus the public notice dated 11.03.2015 was published by the
UGC, after taking over the regulatory functions of erstwhile
Distance Education Council (DEC).  Further, as per mandate given
to it by the Ministry of Human Resource Development to regulate
Open and Distance Learning in Universities and Affiliated Colleges,
the UGC has decided that no university/institution should offer
Diploma, Bachelors and Masters level program in Engineering and
Technology other than MBA and MCA till the finalization of UGC
(Open and Distance Learning) Regulations, 2014 or notification of
relevant Regulations by an independent regulatory authority
established by Central Government to deal with ODL education in
higher education system in the country, whichever is earlier.  It
was also further notified that UGC has also decided not to consider
any request for ex-post facto approval for ODL programmes offered
by any University/Institution at this stage.
      Sri M.Sreenivas, learned Standing Counsel for Nagarjuna
University has placed reliance upon a recognition accorded to
several universities/institutions for offering various academic
programmes through distance mode.  In this notification, in so far
as Acharya Nagarjuna University is concerned, it is has been
permitted to offer B.Tech/Civil, Mech., EEE, ECE, Computer
Science and Information Technology.  Similarly, in so far as
Andhra University is concerned, B.Tech in Chemical Engineering,
B.E. in Civil Engineering, Mech., EEE, ECE courses have also been
approved.  Therefore, he would submit that the courses offered
through distance mode of learning by these (Nagarjuna & Andhra)
universities cannot be treated or considered as unauthorized
courses.
      In the above background, Sri G. Vidya Sagar, learned Senior
Counsel for the petitioners, has urged that the degrees awarded by
the Andhra University as well as the Acharya Nagarjuna University
shall be considered as valid degrees in Engineering and Technology
and hence, the petitioners in W.P.No.4962 of 2015 cannot be
construed as not possessing the necessary qualifications.  In so far
as the petitioners in W.P.No.7632 of 2015 are concerned, they have
passed Section A and B of Associate Membership Course offered by
the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (India) Mumbai, which is
recognized by the Government of India as equivalent to Bachelors
degree in Mechanical Engineering and hence by the notification,
the petitioners in W.P.No.7632 of 2015 shall be treated as
possessing an equivalent qualification to that of a degree in
Mechanical Engineering and consequently all these petitioners
should be treated as eligible for appearing for the selection.  The
learned Senior Counsel has also pressed into service, in support of
the plea of the petitioners, Regulation 33 of Coal Mines Regulations
1957, which dealt with the necessary qualification to be possessed
by an Engineer to be appointed to hold general charge of
machinery, its installation, maintenance and safe working.  In an
open-cast mine worked by heavy earth-moving machinery where
the aggregate Horse Power of all the machinery used exceeds 750,
or any other mine in which aggregate Horse Power of all the
machinery used exceeds 500, a degree or equivalent qualification
in Electrical or Mechanical engineering recognized by the Central
Government for the purpose of recruitment to superior post and
service under them and not less than two years experience in the
installation and maintenance of machinery of the type used in the
mine are eligible to be appointed.  Therefore, it is urged that in
terms of Regulation 33 of the Coal Mines Regulations 1957, a
degree or equivalent qualification in Mechanical Engineering
recognized by the Central Government for the purpose of
recruitment to its service is what is essentially needed.  Sri Vidya
Sagar, therefore, contends that the impugned notification should
be read down to the extent of its insistence that the qualification
should be obtained by a regular mode of study and that an
equivalent qualification also should be obtained by a regular mode
of study.  Sri Vidya Sagar would contend that when once the
Ministry of Home Resource Development, Government of India,
notified equivalence, then the unprincipled insistence that the
equivalent qualification must also be obtained by a regular mode
pales itself into insignificance.
      Sri J. Ramachandra Rao, learned Additional Advocate
General, who appeared on behalf of Sri Nandigama Krishna Rao,
learned Standing Counsel for Singareni Collieries, would submit
that the entire gamut of controversy raised herein is covered by the
judgment rendered by the Supreme Court in Annamalai
University Vs. Secretary to Government, Information and
Tourism Department and Others  and would contend that the
qualifications obtained only through the regular mode of study
alone are liable to be taken into account and if the qualification is
not recognized by the AICTE, such qualification cannot be taken
into account or consideration by the respondent company.
      It is true that the Supreme Court was called upon in
Annamalai Unversitys case (Supra 1) to consider as to whether
the provisions of the UGC Act and the Regulations framed by UGC
Act would be binding on all universities whether conventional or
open.  During the course of discussion, the Supreme Court has
also noticed its earlier judgments rendered in State of A.P. Vs.
K.Purushotham Reddy  and Osmania University Teachers  
Association Vs. State of A.P. , and arrived at a conclusion that
UGC Act, having been enacted in terms of Entry 66 of List 1 of the
Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India would prevail over
the Open University Act.  It is worth noticing the reasoning
assigned by it in Paras 40, 41, 42, 49 and 54, which run as under:
      The UGC Act was enacted by the Parliament in exercise
of its power under Entry 66 of List I of the Seventh Schedule
to the Constitution of India whereas Open University Act was
enacted by the Parliament in exercise of its power under Entry
25 of List III thereof. The question of repugnancy of the
provisions of the said two Acts, therefore, does not arise. It is
true that the statement of objects and reasons of Open
University Act shows that the formal system of education had
not been able to provide an effective means to equalize
educational opportunities. The system is rigid inter alia in
respect of attendance in classrooms. Combinations of subjects
are also inflexible.
      Was the alternative system envisaged under the Open
University Act was in substitution of the formal system is the
question. In our opinion, in the matter of ensuring the
standard of education, it is not. The distinction between a
formal system and informal system is in the mode and
manner in which education is imparted. UGC Act was enacted
for effectuating coordination and determination of standards
in Universities. The purport and object for which it was
enacted must be given full effect.
      The provisions of the UGC Act are binding on all
Universities whether conventional or open. Its powers are very
broad. Regulations framed by it in terms of clauses (e), (f), (g)
and (h) of sub-Section (1) of Section 26 are of wide amplitude.
They apply equally to Open Universities as also to formal
conventional universities. In the matter of higher education, it
is necessary to maintain minimum standards of instructions.
Such minimum standards of instructions are required to be
defined by UGC. The standards and the coordination of work
or facilities in universities must be maintained and for that
purpose required to be regulated. The powers of UGC under
Sections 26(1)(f) and 26(1)(g) are very broad in nature.
Subordinate legislation as is well known when validly made
becomes part of the Act. We have noticed hereinbefore that
the functions of the UGC are all pervasive in respect of the
matters specified in clause (d) of sub-section (1) of Section
12A and clauses (a) and (c) of subsection (2) thereof.

      In State of A.P. vs. K. Purushotham Reddy & ors.
[(2003) 9 SCC 564], this Court held:
      19. The conflict in legislative competence of the
Parliament and the State Legislatures having regard to Article
246 of the Constitution of India must be viewed in the light of
the decisions of this Court which in no uncertain terms state
that each Entry has to be interpreted in a broad manner. Both
the parliamentary legislation as also the State legislation must
be considered in such a manner so as to uphold both of them
and only in a case where it is found that both cannot co-exist,
the State Act may be declared ultra vires. Clause I of Article
246 of the Constitution of India does not provide for the
competence of the Parliament or the State Legislatures as is
ordinarily understood but merely provide for the respective
legislative fields. Furthermore, the Courts should proceed to
construe a statute with a view to uphold its constitutionality.

      It was observed:
      20. Entry 66 of List I provides for coordination and
determination of standards inter alia for higher education.
Entry 25 of List III deals with broader subject, namely,
education. On a conjoint reading of both the entries there
cannot be any doubt whatsoever that although the State has a
wide legislative field to cover the same is subject to entry 63,
64, 65 and 66 of List I. Once, thus, it is found that any State
Legislation does not entrench upon the legislative field set
apart by Entry 66, List I of the VII Schedule of the
Constitution of India, the State Act cannot be invalidated.

      This Court in Osmania University Teachers Association
vs. State of Andhra Pradesh & Anr. [(1987) 4 SCC 671], held
as under:

      14. Entry 25 List III relating to education including
technical education, medical education and Universities has
been made subject to the power of Parliament to legislate
under Entries 63 to 66 of List I. Entry 66 List I and Entry 25
List III should, therefore, be read together. Entry 66 gives
power to Union to see that a required standard of higher
education in the country is maintained. The standard of
Higher Education including scientific and technical should
not be lowered at the hands of any particular State or States.
Secondly, it is the exclusive responsibility of the Central
Government to co-ordinate and determine the standards for
higher education. That power includes the power to evaluate,
harmonise and secure proper relationship to any project of
national importance. It is needless to state that such a
coordinate action in higher education with proper standards,
is of paramount importance to national progress. It is in this
national interest, the legislative field in regard to 'education'
has been distributed between List I and List III of the Seventh
Schedule.
      15. The Parliament has exclusive power to legislate with
respect to matters included in List I. The State has no power
at all in regard to such matters. If the State legislates on the
subject falling within List I that will be void, inoperative and
unenforceable.
      xxx xxx xxx
      30. The Constitution of India vests Parliament with
exclusive authority in regard to co-ordination and
determination of standards in institutions for higher
education. The Parliament has enacted the U.G.C. Act for that
purpose. The University Grants Commission has, therefore, a
greater role to play in shaping the academic life of the
country. It shall not falter or fail in its duty to maintain a high
standard in the Universities. Democracy depends for its very
life on a high standards of general, vocational and
professional education. Dissemination of learning with search
for new knowledge with discipline all round must be
maintained at all costs. It is hoped that University Grants
Commission will duly discharge its responsibility to the Nation
and play an increasing to role bring about the needed
transformation in the academic life of the Universities.

      In view of what has been spelt out by the Supreme Court in
Annamalai Unversitys case (Supra 1) it emerges that the
provisions of the UGC Act will have binding force and the
notification, which has been issued by it as recently as on
11.03.2015, advising universities/institutions not to offer
Bachelors Level programmes in Engineering and Technology till the
finalization of UGC (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations
2014 cannot be ignored by this Court.  Similarly in State of Tamil
Nadu and Another Vs. Adhiyaman Educational and Research  
Institute and Others , the Supreme Court has made it clear that
the provisions of AICTE Act and Rules and Regulations framed
thereunder will have precedence over any other general subject
enactment:
      The aforesaid provisions of the Act including its
preamble make it abundantly clear that the Council has been
established under the Act for coordinated and integrated
development of the technical education system at all levels
throughout the country and is enjoined to promote qualitative
improvement of such education in relation to planned
quantitative growth. The Council is also required to regulate
and ensure proper maintenance of norms and standards in
the technical education system.
         

      This duty and responsibility cast on the Council implies
that the norms and standards to be set should be such as
would prevent a lopsided or an isolated development of
technical education in the country.

      In view of these settled principles, the contents of Regulation
33 of Coal Mines Regulations are liable to be treated only as
general in nature and content, and it cannot be considered as
having overriding effect.  Further, these Regulations have provided
for the minimum academic requirements for one to possess before
he can be appointed as an Engineer in a Mine.  If, the employer is
insisting for a superior qualification to be possessed than the one
provided by the Coal Mines Regulations, no employee can make a
grievance of it.  The primary aim of the Coal Mines Regulations is
the safety of both the mine and those who work therein.  By the
employers insistence of a superior qualification it cannot be said
the safety of the Mine or the other Miners is compromised.
      I am, therefore, of the opinion that the respondents are
justified in insisting for the qualification to be obtained by a
regular mode for one to be rendered eligible to be considered for
recruitment.
      Hence, both the writ petitions fail and accordingly, are
dismissed.
      Consequently, miscellaneous petitions, if any pending shall
also stand dismissed.  No costs.
       
_______________________________________      
JUSTICE NOOTY RAMAMOHANA RAO          
22.06.2015 

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