whether (i) the diplomas awarded by the State Board of Technical Education and Training ( SBTET for short) of the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh and the present States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana through the distance mode and (ii) the degrees in Engineering awarded by the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University through the distance mode, can be taken to be valid diplomas and degrees, by the Transmission and Distribution Corporations of both the States, for the purposes of recruitment and promotion, especially when these diplomas and degrees were not approved by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Distance Education Council (DEC) of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), falls for consideration in these writ appeals and writ petitions.

HONBLE SRI JUSTICE V.RAMASUBRAMANIAN AND HONBLE SRI JUSTICE M.GANGA RAO                   

Writ Petition Nos.22385 of 2014

19-01-2018

S.Alla Hussain, S/o Ghouse Mohiuddin, Aged 35 years, Junior Assistant, O/o the Sub-Electricity Revenue Office, APSPDCL, Onti

1. The APSPDCL, Tirupati, Chittoor District,  Rep. by its Chairman & Managing Director
2.The APSPDCL, Tirupati, Chittoor District, Rep. by its Chief General Manager (HRD)
3.The Superintendent Engineer, Operation, APSPDCL, Kadapa, Kadapa District; and others -- Respondents 

Counsel for Petitioners:Messrs K.G. Krishna Murthy and  Mr. A.Satyam Reddy, learned Senior Counsel 

^Counsel for the University: Advocate General for the State of Telangana
 Counsel for Telangana Power Transmission Corporation:
 Mr. G.Vidya Sagar, Senior Counsel,
 Counsel for counsel for one group of individuals:
 Mr. Vedula Venkata Ramana, Senior Counsel, 
 Mr. Vedula Srinivas, Mr. Srinivasa Rao Velivela,
 Dr. K.lakshmi Narasimha and Mr. P.V. Krishnaiah
 Counsel for one set of individuals: Mr. Chandraiah Sunkara

<Gist:

>Head Note:

? Cases referred:
   1. (2001) 8 SCC 876
    2. 1997(1) ALT 629
    3. (2013) 3 SCC 385
    4. (2013) 8 SCC 271
     5. (2014) 16 SCC 330
    6. 2017 (13) SCALE 148
    7. (2009) 4 SCC 590


HONBLE SRI JUSTICE V.RAMASUBRAMANIAN         
AND 
HONBLE SRI JUSTICE M.GANGA RAO       

Writ Petition Nos.22385, 27569, 39900 and 40278 of 2014,
357, 11575, 12356, 17519, 26730, 30699, 32533,
32570, 37567, 40048, 40338 and 40441 of 2015,
W.P.Nos.12086, 12269, 12271, 
14723, 22227 and 36087 of 2016,
W.P.Nos.7999, 15103, 17527 and 34857 of 2017 
with
C.C.Nos.1693 of 2015 and 2489 of 2016,
And
W.A.No.1683 of 2017 

Common Order: (per V.Ramasubramanian, J.) 

      The question whether (i) the diplomas awarded by the
State Board of Technical Education and Training ( SBTET for
short) of the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh and the
present States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana through the 
distance mode and (ii) the degrees in Engineering awarded by
the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University through the
distance mode, can be taken to be valid diplomas and
degrees, by the Transmission and Distribution Corporations
of both the States, for the purposes of recruitment and
promotion, especially when these diplomas and degrees were 
not approved by All India Council for Technical Education
(AICTE), University Grants Commission (UGC) and the  
Distance Education Council (DEC) of the Indira Gandhi
National Open University (IGNOU), falls for consideration in
these writ appeals and writ petitions.
      2. We have heard Messrs K.G. Krishna Murthy and
Mr. A.Satyam Reddy, learned Senior Counsel appearing on 
one side, the learned Advocate General for the State of
Telangana appearing for the University, Mr. G.Vidya Sagar,
learned Senior Counsel appearing for the Telangana Power
Transmission Corporation, Mr. Vedula Venkata Ramana, 
learned Senior Counsel, Mr. Vedula Srinivas, Mr. Srinivasa
Rao Velivela, Dr. K.Lakshmi Narasimha and Mr. P.V.
Krishnaiah, learned counsel appearing for one group of
individuals and Mr. Chandraiah Sunkara, learned counsel
appearing for one set of individuals.
      3. A brief history leading to the disputes on hand would
go as follows:
      (a) The Andhra Pradesh State Electricity Board (APSEB)
established in the year 1959 for the purpose of generation,
transmission and distribution of electricity, was dissolved,
after the enactment of the Andhra Pradesh Electricity
Reforms Act, 1998 and 6 different Companies, one called the
Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation Limited 
(APGENCO), another called The Transmission Corporation of 
Andhra Pradesh (APTRANSCO) and four other Companies   
called Andhra Pradesh Power Distribution Companies 
(AP DISCOMs) came into existence. Particularly APTRANSCO   
came into existence on 01-02-1999.
      (b) When the State Electricity Board was in existence,
the service conditions of officers and servants of the Board
were governed by a set of Regulations issued in exercise of the
power conferred by section 79 (c) of the Electricity (Supply)
Act, 1948. Therefore, after the dissolution of the Board and
the formation of 6 different corporations, the Andhra Pradesh
State Electricity Board Service Regulations came to be
adopted by all the six new entities, insofar as conditions of
service of employees are concerned.
      (c) After the composite State got bifurcated with effect
from 02-06-2014, both States floated independent
Corporations for generation, transmission and distribution,
but all of them continue to follow the Service Regulations of
the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh State Electricity Board.
      (d) The erstwhile Andhra Pradesh State Electricity Board
comprised of 6 different services namely (i) Personnel and
General Service (ii) Engineering Service (iii) Accounts Service
(iv) General Service (v) Security Service and (vi) Medical
Service.  We are concerned in this case only with one of these
services namely the Engineering Service.
      (e) The Andhra Pradesh State Electricity Board
Engineering Service comprised of eight branches viz.,
Electrical, Civil, Mechanical, Telecommunications, Chemists,
Draughtsmen, Transport Overseas and Blue Printers.
      (f) The Electrical branch of the Engineering Service
comprised of three classes of posts with each class
comprising of different categories of posts.
      (g) Class-I of The Electrical branch of the Engineering
Service comprised of four categories of posts viz., (1) Chief
Engineers (2) Superintending Engineers (3) Divisional
Engineers and Executive Engineers (Special Grade) and (4)
Divisional Engineers and Executive Engineers (Ordinary
Grade.
      (h) Class-II of The Electrical branch of the Engineering
Service comprised of two categories of posts viz., (1) Assistant
Divisional Engineers and (2) Assistant Engineers. Class-III
comprised of two categories of posts viz., (1) Additional
Assistant Engineers and (2) Sub Engineers.
      (i) Similarly, the Civil branch of the Engineering Service
comprised of three classes of posts. Class-I comprised of three
categories of posts viz., (1) Chief Engineers (2) Superintending
Engineers and (3) Executive Engineers. Class-II of the Civil
Branch of the Engineering Service comprised of three
categories of posts viz., (1) Assistant Divisional Engineers, (2)
Chief Head Draughtsmen and (3) Assistant Engineers and 
Class-III comprised of two categories of posts viz., (1)
Additional Assistant Engineers and (2) Sub Engineers.
      (j) The Mechanical branch of the Engineering Service
comprised of three classes of posts with Class-I comprising of
three categories of posts, Class-II comprising of two categories
of posts and Class-III comprising of two categories of posts.
      (k) The Telecommunications branch of the Engineering
Service was divided into three classes of posts with Class-I
comprising of three categories of posts, Class-II comprising of
two categories of posts and Class-III comprising of two
categories of posts.
      (l) We may not be concerned with the other four
branches viz., Chemists, Draughtsmen, Transport Overseas
and Blue Print Operators of the Engineering Service in the
batch of cases on hand. Hence, we need not look into the
constitution of these branches.
      (m) Annexure-I to the APSEB Service Regulations
prescribed the methods of recruitment to each category and
class of post in every branch of the Engineering Service as
well as in the branches of other services of the Board.
      (n) Annexure-II to the APSEB Service Regulations
contained tables that provided the list of Appointing
Authorities in respect of every one of the posts.
      (o) Annexure-III to the APSEB Service Regulations
contained a table indicating (i) the method of recruitment and
(ii) the qualifications prescribed for recruitment to every one
of the categories and classes of posts in the Engineering
Service.
      (p) Insofar as the post of Assistant Engineer in the
Electrical branch is concerned, column No.3 of the table
under Annexure-III provided the following as the
qualifications for appointment.
(a)(i)  A degree in Electrical Engineering/Electrical Electronics Engineering of
        a University in India established or incorporated by or under a central
        Act, Provincial Act or a State Act or any other qualification recognized as
        equivalent thereto.

(ii)    Subject to the following conditions a pass in sections A and B of the
        AMIE (Ind) Examination with Electrical Engineers General and any two of
        the following subjects under section B as Optional or additional subjects.

(i)     Electric Supply and power distribution
(ii)    Electrical Machinery
(iii)   Electrical Installation
(iv)    Electrical measurements
(v)     Thermodynamics and Heat Engines (Steam & Internal       combustion)
(vi)    Hydro Electricity
(vii)   Hydraulics or hydraulic Machinery

(a)     Should furnish evidence of having undergone practical training in
        Surveying for at least one year or a diploma in Civil Engineering
        awarded by the State Board of Technical Education and Training  A.P. or
        any other qualification recognized as equivalent thereto.

(b)     Should have secured a pass in the Intermediate or PUC examination or
        any other examination recognized as equivalent thereto.

(c)     Should have had practical experience for a period of not less than
        4 years after passing Sections A and B of the AMIE (Ind) examination,
        which should include practical experience for a period of not less than
        one year in Erection, Maintenance or Construction works;

      (q) Insofar as the posts of Assistant Engineers in other
branches such as Civil, Mechanical and Telecommunications 
of the Engineering Service are concerned, column No.3 of the
table under Annexure-III prescribed similar qualifications.
      (r) Since we are not concerned in this case with the
optional subjects and additional subjects that varied from
branch to branch, we are not repeating the contents of
column No.3 of the table under Annexure-III in respect of
every branch.
      (s) What are relevant to be noted in column No.3 of the
table under Annexure-III that contains the qualifications, are
only two things viz., (i) that a degree in the relevant branch of
Engineering is necessary and (ii) that a pass in Sections A
and B of AMIE with certain subjects as optionals, would also
be considered as equivalent qualification.
      (t) Insofar as the qualification of a degree in Engineering
is concerned, column No.3 of the table under Annexure-III
that we have extracted above, prescribes that the degree
should have been obtained from a University in India
established or incorporated by or under a Central Act,
Provincial Act or a State Act or any other qualification
recognized as equivalent thereto.
      (u) It must be remembered that the Service Regulations
of the Andhra Pradesh State Electricity Board were issued
way back on 21-8-1967 under Board Proceeding B.P.Ms 
No.547 in exercise of the powers conferred by Clause (c) of
Section 79 of the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948.
        (v) An Engineering College known as Nagarjuna Sagar
Engineering College founded in the year 1965, was later made
into a University under a State enactment called Jawaharlal
Nehru Technological University Act, 1972, by combining two
other colleges located in Kakinada and Anantapur. But in
2008, the University got split into four different Universities.
        (w) In the year 1983, the Jawaharlal Nehru
Technological University, established a Centre for Distance
Education and started offering a Correspondence Cum
Contact Programme (known is short as CCC programme)   
leading to a B.Tech Degree. It was purportedly on the basis of
the recommendations of the Kothari Commission. 
        (x) To be eligible for admission to the B.Tech Degree
course under the Correspondence Cum Contact Programme,   
a candidate should have successfully passed a three year
Diploma conducted by the State Board of Technical
Education and Training (SBTET) and should also be working
in the State of Andhra Pradesh. Since only limited number of
seats were available, the process of admission was through
a competitive entrance examination. The duration of the
course was four years and the course of study included
theory, practical and a project work with intensive contact
programme for 15 working days.
        (y) Before proceeding further, it must be recorded that
much before the birth of the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological
University under the State enactment of the year 1972, the
Parliament enacted the University Grants Commission Act,
1956, for the purpose of making provision for the
coordination and determination of standards in Universities
and for that purpose to establish a University Grants
Commission. Section 22(1) of the University Grants
Commission Act, 1956 made it clear that the right of
conferring or granting degrees shall be exercised only by
a University established or incorporated by or under a Central
Act, a Provincial Act or a State Act or an institution deemed to
be a University under Section 3 or an institution specially
empowered by an Act of Parliament to confer or grant degrees.
Sub-section (3) of Section 22 made it clear that for the
purposes of Section 22, the expression degree would mean
any such degree, as may, with the previous approval of the
Central Government, be specified in this behalf by the
Commission by Notification in the Official Gazette. Therefore,
before the advent of privatization (or povertisation) of
education, it was only the degrees offered by Universities
established by Central or State Acts that came within
the purview of Section 22(3) of the University Grants
Commission Act, 1956. Since the Jawaharlal Nehru 
Technological University is a University established by a State
enactment, subsequent to the University Grants Commission 
Act, 1956, the degrees offered by Jawaharlal Nehru
Technological University also came within the purview of
Section 22(3) of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956.
        (z) In the year 1987, the Parliament enacted The All
India Council for Technical Education Act, 1987, for the
purpose of conferring statutory powers upon the Council to
ensure coordinated development of Technical Education
throughout the country and for the regulation of the system
and proper maintenance of norms and standards. As a matter
of fact, the All India Council for Technical Education was
already in existence from the year 1945 as a National Expert
Body to advise the Central and the State Governments for
ensuring coordinated development of Technical Education in
accordance with the approved standards. This Council which
was in existence from 1945, made certain recommendations 
on the basis of which the Government of India set up
a National Working Group in November, 1985. It is on the
basis of the recommendations made by this National Working
Group and on the basis of National Policy on Education, 1986
that the All India Council for Technical Education Act was
enacted in the year 1987.
        (aa) In the meantime, another development took place
with the Parliamentary Enactment known as Indira Gandhi
National Open University Act, 1985. This Act was intended to
promote Open University and Distance Education systems in 
the educational pattern of the country. Under the Statutes of
the Indira Gandhi National Open University, a Distance
Education Council was established as an apex body for the
Open and Distance Learning system in the country.
The Distance Education Council was responsible for
promotion, coordination and maintenance of standards of the
ODL system. 
        (ab) In terms of chronology, the University Grants
Commission Act, 1956 came first, the Jawaharlal Nehru
Technological University Act, 1972 came next, the Indira
Gandhi National Open University Act, 1985 came later and
the All India Council for Technical Education Act, 1987 came
subsequently.
        (ac) By Notification No.44, dated 01-03-1995, issued by
the Ministry of Human Resources Development of the Union
of India, the Degrees awarded through Distance Education by
the Universities established by Acts of Parliament or State
Legislature were declared to be automatically recognized for
the purpose of employment to posts and services under the
Central Government, provided such qualifications had been
approved by the Distance Education Council and also by the
All India Council for Technical Education wherever necessary.
        (ad) It may be of interest to note that even before the
advent of the Indira Gandhi National Open University in
1985, an Open University was established in the year 1982 at
Hyderabad and it was Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University.
Therefore, Hyderabad became the fore runner and Delhi
followed, with the Indira Gandhi National Open University in
1985. In 1987, two more Open Universities came up viz., the
Nalanda Open University, Patna and Vardhaman Mahaveer 
Open University, Kota, Rajasthan. Subsequently,
Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University came up   
in Nasik in 1989 and soon the number of Open Universities
grew to 17.
        (ae) It appears that the Distance Education Council
started a programme evaluation in the year 2003-04 and
it was followed by institutional recognition in 2007-08.
In May, 2007, a Joint Committee was formed pursuant to
a Memorandum of Understanding between UGC, AICTE and     
DEC. The Joint Committee developed guidelines in the form of
Handbook of Recognition. With effect from 2009, the DEC
started giving programme-wise recognition. After the expiry of
the term of the Joint Committee, a Tripartite Committee
comprising of Chair Persons of UGC, AICTE and DEC was 
constituted by the Ministry of Human Resources Development 
in 2010, but the Committee got dissolved in May, 2013. The
Distance Education Council itself got dissolved in 2013.
        (af) On 18-10-2016, the APGENCO sought a clarification
regarding the claim for recognition made by persons who
acquired Diploma in Engineering from a Deemed University
known as Institute of Advanced Studies and Education
(IASE), Rajasthan. The State Government clarified on
12-04-2007 that the Degrees in Engineering offered by IASE,
Rajasthan, through Distance Education mode are not
recognized even for the purposes of employment.
        (ag) Therefore, the APTRANSCO issued a proceeding in 
T.O.O.Ms.No.69, dated 06-07-2007, declaring that the
Degrees /Diplomas awarded by deemed to be Universities 
through Distance mode shall not be considered for
appointment or for any other service benefit unless they have
been recognized by UGC, DEC and AICTE.   
        (ah) It was followed by another proceeding in T.O.O.
Ms.No.195, dated 14-12-2007, declaring that the Diplomas/
Degrees awarded by Universities/Institutions established
outside the State of Andhra Pradesh through Distance mode
shall not be considered for higher level promotions or
incentive increments. However, the Degrees and Diplomas
awarded by Institutions within the State, recognized by UGC,
DEC and AICTE were declared as eligible for higher level
promotions and incentive increments.
        (ai) Challenging T.O.O.Ms.No.69, dated 06-07-2007,
a writ petition was filed in W.P.No.16355 of 2007. In the said
writ petition, an interim order was passed directing the A.P.
State Council for Higher Education to enquire into the matter
and to advise APTRANSCO. 
        (aj) Thereafter, the Government of Andhra Pradesh
issued a clarification to APTRANSCO on 24-04-2008 
reiterating that the Degrees/Diplomas awarded by IASE,
Rajasthan through Distance Education mode are not
recognized.
        (ak) The interim order passed in W.P.No.16355 of 2007
on 11-12-2007 was amplified by a further order dated
24-04-2008 directing the APTRANSCO not to make further 
promotions till the Board took a comprehensive decision.
        (al) Pursuant to the said order, the APTRANSCO issued
comprehensive orders in T.O.O.Ms.No.134, dated 11-09-
2008, declaring that the Degrees/Diplomas awarded under
the Distance mode, will be considered for recruitment,
promotions and incentives, if they were recognized by UGC,
DEC and AICTE. The Functional Heads were also directed to 
seek clarification from UGC, DEC and AICTE about the
recognition granted in individual cases.
        (am) The aforesaid orders in T.O.O.Ms.No.134, dated
11-09-2008, were reiterated by another order in T.O.O.Ms.
No.186, dated 27-10-2008.
        (an) However, by another proceeding in T.O.O.Ms.No.83,
dated 17-04-2015, the previous proceedings in T.O.O.Ms.
Nos.134 and 186, were amended, declaring that the Degrees
awarded by JNTU and the Diplomas awarded by the State 
Board (SBTET) were valid for promotions. But this order was
subsequently kept in abeyance through T.O.O.Ms.No.101, 
dated 26-5-2015.
        (ao) This genuflection on the part of the APTRANSCO
forced this Court to pass orders on 11-07-2016 in W.P.
No.12269 of 2016 directing the Power Companies to take
a final call.
        (ap) Pursuant to the said order, T.O.O.Ms.No.385, dated
17-02-2017, was issued restoring T.O.O.Ms.No.83, dated
17-04-2015, by which the Degrees awarded by JNTU and 
Diplomas awarded by State Board were declared valid for
promotions.
        (aq) T.O.O.Ms.No.385, dated 17-02-2017, was 
challenged in W.P.No.7999 of 2017. An interim order was
passed in this writ petition following the interim order passed
in the previous writ petition W.P.No.11575 of 2015, which in
turn followed the interim orders passed in W.P.No.375 of
2015 seeking a declaration that the Diplomas awarded by
State Board are valid for promotions.
        (ar) Eventually, the Telangana State TRANSCO issued
T.O.O.Ms.No.151, dated 13-10-2017, adopting T.O.O.Ms. 
No.83, dated 17-4-2015, as done by APTRANSCO.   
        (as) A writ petition in W.P.No.34857 of 2017 came to be
filed challenging T.O.O.Ms.No.151, dated 13-10-2017.
An interim order was sought in the said writ petition, but the
learned Judge refused to grant interim order. Challenging the
refusal of the learned Judge to grant interim orders, a writ
appeal in W.A.No.1683 of 2017 came to be filed.
        (at) When the writ appeal was being argued, it was
found that a batch of writ petitions challenging various orders
relating to the recognition of the Degrees awarded by JNTU
and the Diplomas offered by the State Board (SBTET) were
pending.  Therefore, all of them were grouped together and
taken up for consideration.
        4. Thus, we have on hand, one writ appeal,
two contempt petitions and 26 writ petitions. They can be
classified as follows:
        (i) The writ appeal arises out of the refusal of the
learned Judge to grant a stay in W.P.No.34857 of 2017, with
respect to T.O.O.Ms.No.151.
        (ii) The two contempt petitions arise out of (a) an interim
order passed in W.P.No.36087 of 2016 by a learned Single
Judge, directing the Corporation not to transfer any employee
contrary to T.O.O.Ms.No.134, dated 11.09.2008 and (b) an
interim order passed in W.P.No.12356 of 2015 suspending
the operation of T.O.O.Ms.No.83, dated 17.04.2014; and
        (iii) The writ petitions numbering about 26, either
challenge T.O.O.Ms.No.134, T.O.O.Ms.No.186 and T.O.O.Ms.   
No.181, or challenge T.O.O.Ms.No.151 or challenge T.O.O.Ms. 
No.83 or T.O.O.Ms.No.101. 
        5. For the purpose of easy appreciation, the writ
petitions and the reliefs sought in every one of them are
presented in a tabular column, as follows:
Sl.
No.
Writ
Petition
No(s).
Prayer in the Writ Petitions
Degree
/Diplo
ma
1
22385/2014
Challenging the ban imposed vide
SOO Ms. No. 19 dated 12.02.2014 as 
not applicable to Petitioners as they
acquired qualifications prior to cut of
date.
Degree
2
27569/2014

Challenging violation of TOO No.
134, EOO No.205 dated 23.09.2008 
and SOO No.102 dated 15.09.2008 
and to revert candidates promoted in
violation of TOO Ms. No. 134, EOO
No. 205 & SOO No. 102. 
Diplom
a
3
39900/2014

Challenging removal of names from
the seniority list dated 19.12.2014
and to treat SBTET diploma (CCC) as
valid
Diplom
a

4
40278/2014
Challenging removal of names from
the seniority list dated 19.12.2014
and to treat SBTET diploma (CCC) as
valid
Diplom
a

5
357/2015
Challenging Memo dated 19.12.2014 
for not including Petitioners names
and to declare that the diplomas
from SBTET (CCC) do not require
DEC approval and treat the same as
valid for promotions.
Diplom
a
6
11575/2015
Challenging TOO Ms. No. 83 dated 
17.04.2015 as illegal
Diplom
a
7
12356/2015

Challenging T.O.O. No. 83 dated
17.05.2015 issued by APTRANSCO   
Diplom
a
8
17519/2015
For implementation of TOO No. 131
and COO No. 377 dated 27.09.2008 
Diplom
a
9
26730/2015
For implementation of NOO No. 181 
dt. 18.09.2008 and COO No.377 
dated27.09.2008 for affecting
promotions to AAE/AE/ADE 
Diplom
a
10
30699/2015

Challenging Memo dated 11.09.2015 
and 15.09.2015 effecting promotions
to Sub-Engineers through
appointment by transfer to
candidates who possess diploma 
SBTET (CCC) mode as illegal and 
contrary to TOO No. 101 dated
26.05.2015 and SOO No. 114 dated 
04.05.2015
Diplom
a
11
32533/2015

Challenging TOO No. 101 dated 
26.05.2015 and EOO No. 112/15 
dated 13.06.2015 as illegal
Diplom
a
12
32570/2015

To declare the proceedings in TOO
No. 101 dated 26.05.2015, EOO No. 
112/15 dated 13.06.2015 and SOO 
Ms.No. 114 dated 04.06.2015 as 
illegal
Diplom
a
13
37567/2015
Challenging non-promotion of
Petitioners as Sub-Engineers as
contrary to EOO Ms.No.205 dated 
23.09.2008 (To follow and implead
TOO No.134) 
Diplom
a
14
40048/2015
Challenging Memo dated 05.12.2015 
promoting people with B.Tech. (CCC)
JNTU (h) as illegal and arbitrary
Diplom
a
15
40338/2015

For implementation of TOO  No.134
and NOO No. 181 dated 18.09.2008 
for affecting promotions to post of
AAE/AE/ADE 

Degree
16
40441/2015
Challenging the non-promotion of
Petitioners as AAE on regular basis
with effect from 05.12.2015 and to
treat SBTET diploma (CCC) as valid
qualification

Diplom
a
17
12086/2016

Challenging clause 4 (i) of TOO
No.134 as irrational and arbitrary
and to treat SBTET diploma (CCC) as
valid for appointment by transfer as
Sub Engineer/AAE/ADE, and to 
declare that DEC's approval is not
required for Diploma Courses offered
by SBTET through CCC mode.   
Degree
18
12269/2016

Challenging TOO 134, TOO No. 186 
and NOO 181 in so far as insisting
upon AICTE approval for B.Tech.
(CCC mode), JNTU (H). 
Degree
19
12271/2016

Challenging TOO Ms.No. 134 dated 
11.09.2008 and TOO Ms.  No.186 
dated 27.10.2008and NOO Ms. No. 
181 dated 18.09.2008 of APNPDCL 
Diplom
a
20
14723/2016
To declare B.Tech. Degree obtained
from JNTU (H) under CCC mode as 
valid for appointment/promotion as
Assistant Engineer/ADE in terms of
State Govt. decision dated
27.01.2014
Degree
21
22227/2016

For implementation of TOO No.134 
and COO No. 377 dated, 27.09.2008 
for effecting promotions to post of AE
to ADE.

Degree
22
36087/2016

For implementation of TOO No.134 
and COO No.377 and judgement of 
Hon'ble Supreme Court in SLP (C)
No. 7277/14 dated 09.04.2014.
Degree

23
7999/2017
Challenging TOO Ms. No. 385 dated 
17.02.2017 & SOO Ms. No. 11 
dated25.02.17 and (as amended) to
declare the impugned TOO Ms. 
No.83 dated 17.04.2015 is illegal
and contrary to Section 10 of the
AICTE Act and Section 22 of the
UGC Act.
Diplom
a
24
15103/2017
       
Challenging TOO Ms. no. 134 and 
COO No. 377   
Degree

25
17527/2017

To declare that TOO No. 134 is
inapplicable to Petitioners and
continue them as ADE or
alternatively strike down TOO Ms.
No. 134.

26
34857/2017
Challenging TOO Ms. No. 151 dated 
13.10.2017 as illegal and direction
to strictly follow TOO No. 134
Degree


        6. As could be seen from the above tabular column, the
controversies in all the 26 writ petitions revolve around
T.O.O.Ms.No.134 dated 11.09.2008, T.O.O.Ms.No.186 dated   
27.10.2008, T.O.O.Ms.No.83, dated 17-04-2015, T.O.O. Ms. 
No.101 dated 26.05.2005, T.O.O.Ms. No.385 dated 
17.02.2017 and T.O.O.Ms.No.151 dated 13.10.2017. 
        7. In order to understand the scope and purport of
everyone of these T.O.Os, we shall present in a tabulation, the
operative portion of each of these T.O.Os, as follows:
T.O.O. No.
and date
Operative portion of the T.O.O
134 -
11/09/2008
(i) The Technical Degrees/ Diplomas awarded by
all the Universities/ Deemed Universities/
Institutions through Regular/ Part-time/
distance education recognised by the
UGC&AICTE, shall be considered for
recruitment, promotions, incentive increments or
any other service benefits. (In case of Distance
Mode Education the university shall have
recognition from Distance Education Council
(under the Indira Gandhi National Open
University) in addition to UGC&AICTE).
(ii) All other degrees including MBA degree
awarded through regular/part-time/distance
education courses by all the Universities
recognised by the UGC shall be considered for
recruitment, promotions, incentive increments or
any other service benefits as the case may be. (In
case of Distance Mode Education the university
shall have recognition from Distance Education
Council (under the Indira Gandhi National Open
University) in addition to UGC.
(iii) All Degrees/Diplomas awarded to the
programmes offered through Distance Education
Mode by Institute of Advance Studies in
Education (IASE), Rajasthan are not recognised
degrees for recruitment, promotions, incentive
increments or any other service benefits.
(iv) If UGC has noted the ex-post-facto sanction
of the Degrees/Diplomas awarded by the Deemed 
Universities, through Distance Mode Education,
the same will not be considered as recognition.
(v) The functional heads are requested to seek
clarification from UGC, AICTE and DEC as the
case may be regarding recognition of the
Universities/Deemed Universities/ Institutions
in respect of regular or distance education.
Further, they may also contact concerned
university for genuineness of the course
certificates submitted by the incumbent and its
study centers.
186
27/10/2008
Merely reiterated the directions issued by the
Transmission Corporation in T.O.O. (Addl. Secy-
Per) Ms. No. 134 dated 11.09.2008.
02-06-2014
The State got bifurcated and separate
corporations were formed for Telangana and
Andhra Pradesh.
83
17-04-2015
The A.P. Corporation made 3 additions to
T.O.O.186 dated 27-10-2008 by inserting 3 sub
paragraphs to the existing para 6(i). The existing
para 6(i) was renumbered as 6(i)(a) and 3 sub
paras numbered as 6(i)(b), 6(i)(c) and 6(i)(d) were
inserted. They are as follows:

Para 6(i)(b): The B.Tech Degree offered by School
of Continuing and Distance Education (SCDE),
JNTUH in the Correspondence cum-contact 
(CCC) mode needs to be treated as equally valid
degree like any other B.Tech (Classroom
teaching) degree offered by the Universities for all
purposes of education and employment. However 
this would be restricted to the students who got
admitted till the year 2009 but got the degree
later on as per the academic rules and
regulations of JNTUH.

Para 6(i)(c): Further continuation of B.Tech (CCC)
programmes by School of Continuing and 
Distance Education (SCDE), JNTUH should be 
allowed only with the prior approval of the UGC
as presently the distance education programmes
are looked after by UGC after the dissolution of
the DEC.

Para 6(i)(d): The Correspondence-cum-contact
(CCC) mode of diplomas offered by the State
Board of Technical Education and Training
(SBTET) need to be treated as equally valid, like
any other regular diploma offered by the State
Board of Technical Education and Training
(SBTET) for all purposes of education and
employment. 
.
101 -
26/05/2015
Orders issued by A.P. Corporation in T.O.O
Ms.No. 83 dated 17.04.2015 ordered to be kept
in abeyance until disposal of the Court case.
385 -
17/02/2017
A.P Transmission Corporation upholds T.O.O.
Ms. No. 83 dated 17.04.2015 duly rescinding the
orders issued vide T.O.O. (Addl. Secy-Per) Ms.
No. 101 dated 26.05.2015, subject however to
the outcome of the various Court cases.
151 -
13/10/2017
Following what A.P Transmission Corporation
did, the Telangana Transmission Corporation
also made 3 additions to T.O.O.186 dated 27-10-
2008 by inserting 3 sub paragraphs to the
existing para 6(i). The existing para 6(i) was
renumbered as 6(i)(a) and 3 sub paras numbered
as 6(i)(b), 6(i)(c) and 6(i)(d) were inserted. They
are as follows:

Para 6(i)(b): The B.Tech Degree offered by School
of Continuing and Distance Education (SCDE),
JNTUH in the Correspondence cum-contact 
(CCC) mode needs to be treated as equally valid
degree like any other B.Tech (Classroom
teaching) degree offered by the Universities for all
purposes of education and employment. However 
this would be restricted to the students who got
admitted till the year 2009 but got the degree
later on as per the academic rules and
regulations of JNTUH.

Para 6(i)(c): Further continuation of B.Tech (CCC)
programmes by School of Continuing and 
Distance Education (SCDE), JNTUH should be 
allowed only with the prior approval of the UGC
as presently the distance education programmes
are looked after by UGC after the dissolution of
the DEC.

Para 6(i)(d): The Correspondence-cum-contact
(CCC) mode of diplomas offered by the State
Board of Technical Education and Training
(SBTET) need to be treated as equally valid, like
any other regular diploma offered by the State
Board of Technical Education and Training
(SBTET) for all purposes of education and
employment. 

      8. We have seen the various types of reliefs prayed in all
the 26 writ petitions on hand in para-5 above. We have also
seen the purport of the various orders of the Andhra Pradesh
or Telangana Transmission Corporations, in para-7 above.
        9. From the two tables, one contained in para-5 and the
other contained in para-7, we can group all the 26 writ
petitions into two categories  (i) those supporting or opposing
various decisions of both the corporations, making the
approval by AICTE, UGC and DEC mandatory for the purpose 
of recognizing the degrees awarded by the JNTUH or any
other university; and (ii) those supporting or opposing the
requirement of approval from AICTE for the recognition of
diploma courses offered by the State Board of Technical
Education and Training.
        10. From the particulars given in the table in para-7
above we could see that T.O.O.Ms.No.134 dated 11.09.2008, 
T.O.O.Ms.No.186 dated 27.10.2008 and T.O.O.Ms.No.101   
dated 26.05.2015 fall under one category, viz., executive
orders requiring the approval of UGC, AICTE and DEC for the
recognition of the degrees in Engineering offered through CCC
programmes. 
        11. Similarly, T.O.O.Ms.No.83 dated 17.04.2015, T.O.O.
Ms.No.385 dated 17.02.1017 and T.O.O.Ms.No.151 dated   
13.10.2012 fall on the opposite side of the spectrum, by
prescribing that the degrees secured from JNTUH and
diplomas secured from SBTET without approval from UGC, 
AICTE and DEC can be recognized for the purpose of
promotions etc.
        12. Since we have classified all the 26 writ petitions on
hand into two categories, one relating to diploma and another
relating to degree; and one supporting the requirement of
recognition by UGC, AICTE and DEC and another opposing 
the same, we shall first take up the writ petitions where the
diplomas are in question. But before that it would be ideal to
peep into the history of evolution of the concept of distance
learning.
History of Evolution of Adult Education:
        13. What the universities have now come to call as
correspondence cum contact programme, open and distance   
learning mode or distance education mode etc., were also
given different nomenclature, such as, formal education, non-
formal education, informal education, adult education,
continuing education, extension education and life long
education etc. It appears that the foundation for distance
education was laid perhaps in 1840s, when Sir Isaac Pittman
started correspondence colleges, by taking advantage of the
free delivery of mail to the rural areas, for delivering course
material. In the United States, a person by name William
Rainey Harper (1856-1906), who was the first President of the
University of Chicago introduced college level correspondence
courses.
        14. One of the earliest books on the subject of Adult
Education was written in 1926 by Eduard Christian
Lindeman under the title the Meaning of Adult Education.
Eduard Lindemans life itself was a product of continuing
education. After short stints as a stable cleaner, nurseryman,
grave digger and brickyard worker, he went on to serve the
New York School of Social Work. He defined adult
education in his book to be a cooperative venture in non-
authoritarian, informal learning, the chief purpose of
which is to discover the meaning of experience. According
to him the Adult Education is a technique of learning for
adults, which makes education coterminous with life
and elevates living itself to the level of adventure
experiment. This orientation was described by him as
andragogical. According to him adult education is not one
bound by classrooms and formal curricula but involves a
concern for educational possibilities of everyday life.
What adults learn, according to him converges upon
life, not upon commencement and diplomas. In fact
Eduard Lindeman stated that the external tokens of
learning should be removed so that the learning process
may stand or fall on its intrinsic merits.
        15. In fact, a statutory regime for the recognition of
Extension Education was first developed under the Morrill Act
of 1862 (Land Grant College Act), which endowed the
University of Wisconsin with income for supporting
instruction in agriculture and mechanic arts and for the
fruits of such research to be taken to the people of the State.
During the period from 1885 to 1887, Farmers Institutes
were established by the University of Wisconsin College of
Agriculture. In 1888, Teachers Institutes were run through
extension programmes. In 1890 Mechanics Institutes were
established. In 1891 the University created three extension
programmes, viz., (1) lecture courses in general subjects; (2)
courses on industrial subjects for working people; and (3)
correspondence courses designed as independent Study 
Programmes. In 1901 Robert M. La Follette, who became the 
Governor of the State of Wisconsin, endorsed the importance
of the Universitys Extension Function in the following words:
The State will not have discharged its duty to
the University nor the University fulfill its
mission to the public until adequate means have
been furnished to every young man and woman 
in the State to acquire an education at home in
every department of learning.

        16. In 1907 a University extension division was formed
and the programmes offered by the extension division in the
areas of public health, labour, education, municipal and
social services, became quite famous, leading to Mc. Carthy to
come up with a book titled the Wisconsin Idea. He stated in
his book that the extension division of the university brought
the university to every fire side and that it had actually shown
all universities, the means of shedding the light of knowledge
from within its walls to every home.
        17. The adult education and extension education
programmes solely gave birth to the concept of Open
Universities, when the British Open University was born in
1969. Within a decade and a half, the idea was capitalized in
India and the first Open University was born in Hyderabad in
the year 1982. It was Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University.
Today, distance education has taken different avatars
including online courses. Therefore, Arthur Levine classified
the universities into (1) Brick Universities, built with brick
and mortar; (2) Click Universities, which are virtual and
which open up with the click of a mouse; and (3) Brick and
Click Universities which is a combination of both.
        18. Thus distance education, which has undergone
several transformations, is less than 200 years old.  But the
object of distance education, as it was originally
conceived, was to improve the skills of the work force
and to strengthen the human resources of the
establishment. Promotional prospects and career
advancement for the employees constituted the
corresponding benefit to the work force. A vulgar clamor
for promotions to higher posts, without a corresponding
benefit to the employer, was not the object with which the
idea of distance or correspondence education was conceived.
It is important to keep in mind the fact that the concept
of distance education or correspondence education long
preceded the commercialization of education. Keeping
these fundamentals in mind, we shall now move on to the
controversies on hand.
Diploma courses offered by State Board of Technical
Education and Training:
        19. The State of Andhra Pradesh enacted the A.P.
Education Act, 1982, with a view to consolidate and amend
the laws relating to the educational system in the State of
Andhra Pradesh. Section 6 of the said Act empowers the
Government to establish a Board known as State Board of
Technical Education and Training. Sub-section (2) of Section
6 of Act No.1/1982 defines the functions of SBTET. Under the
said sub-section, the functions of the Board would include (i)
advising the Government on the coordinated development of
technical education in the State at all levels below under-
graduate level; (ii) working in liaison with the Southern
Regional Committee of All India Council for Technical
Education in the formulation of schemes in the State; (3)
affiliating and recognizing the institutions conducting the
courses below under-graduate level and prescribing courses
of study for them; and (4) conducting examinations and
awarding diplomas and certificates conforming to the
minimum standards prescribed by AICTE. 
        20. Section 21A of the A.P. Education Act, 1982
(inserted by way of Amendment Act No.27/1987 w.e.f.
01.06.1987) stipulates that no institution imparting
education and located in this State, shall affiliate itself to any
University outside the State of Andhra Pradesh.
        21. As a matter of fact, the State Board of Technical
Education and Training was already in existence for about 25
years prior to the enactment of the A.P. Education Act, 1982.
In the pre-independence and post independence days, there
was only one office known as the Director of Public
Instructions (DPI), who also used to head the Technical
Education. After the first reorganization of States and the
formation of the State of Andhra Pradesh, the Government
issued G.O.Ms.No.371, Education, dated 26.02.1957 
establishing the State Board of Technical Education and
Training. But after the advent of the A.P. Education Act,
1982, the Board was formed as a Statutory body and the
Board was constituted under G.O.Ms.No.140, dated 
24.04.1984.
        22. It is of interest to note that the All India Council for
Technical Education though established in the year 1945,
gained Statutory recognition only under the AICTE Act, 1987,
But the A.P. Education Act, 1982, which created the SBTET
as a statutory body, made it mandatory for the State Board to
work in liaison with AICTE and also to conduct examinations
and award diplomas and certificates conforming to the
minimum standards prescribed by AICTE. In other words,
even before the All India Council for Technical Education
could gain statutory recognition in the year 1987 by a Central
Act of Parliament, the A.P. Education Act, 1982 recognized its
role in the field of technical education. Section 6 of the A.P.
Education Act reads as follows:
6. State Board of Technical Education and
Training: - (1) The Government may, by notification,
establish a board of technical education to be called
"the State Board of Technical Education and Training,
Andhra Pradesh", the composition and powers of which
shall be such as may be prescribed.
(2) The functions of the Board shall be, -
(a) to advise the Government on the co-ordinated
development of technical education in the State at all
levels below under-graduate level ;
(b) to work in liaison with the Southern Regional
Committee of the All India Council for Technical
Education in the formulation of schemes in the State ;
(c) to affiliate or recognise institutions conducting
courses below undergraduate level and prescribe
courses of study for them;
(d) to inspect institutions periodically and ensure that
the standards of the courses and the instructional
facilities provided are satisfactory;
(e) to conduct examinations and award diplomas and
certificates conforming to the minimum standards
prescribed by the All India Council for Technical
Education ;
(f) to establish and develop co-operative relationship
with Industry and Commerce.

        23. All the Government Polytechnics, offering certificate
or diploma courses in technical education, function under the
supervision of and with the approval of the AICTE. There were
28 Polytechnics in the State all of which had the approval of
AICTE, for offering fulltime diploma courses. But in 1993-94
the SBTET introduced correspondence cum contact 
programmes in diploma courses purportedly for the benefit of
ITI passed candidates, but without taking the specific
approval of AICTE for conducting such programmes.
        24. The contention of the Management of the
Corporations in these cases is that the State Board of
Technical Education and Training started conducting
Diploma courses through CCC mode from the year 1992 in 
terms of G.O.Ms.No.108, dated 27-03-1992 and that students
are admitted to these courses through a common entrance 
examination, they are allotted to Government Polytechnics
and they appear for the examination along with regular full-
time candidates and pass the examinations. Therefore, the
contention of the Management is that since 28 Polytechnics in
which Diploma courses are offered on full-time basis are
already approved by the AICTE, the question of getting
a separate approval for the courses offered through CCC
mode does not arise.
        25. But if the above contention of the Corporations is
correct, we do not know why the Corporations took a stand at
the earliest point of time in T.O.O.Ms.No.134, dated
11-09-2008, that the Diplomas offered through CCC mode
will not be recognized unless the approval of the AICTE was
there.  For a period of seven full years, T.O.O.Ms.No.134,
dated 11-09-2008, held the field, till it was modified by the
APTRANSCO under T.O.O.Ms.No.83 dated 17-04-2015.     
        26. The stand taken by the SBTET in a meeting
convened by the Higher Education Department on 
09-12-2013 was that the Diplomas offered by the SBTET
through CCC mode should be treated like any other regular
Diploma courses offered by SBTET. When the decision taken 
in the meeting held on 09-12-2013 was communicated on 24- 
12-2013, the APTRANSCO sought clarifications from the
Energy Department on 18-03-2014. The Energy Department 
issued a clarification on 12-03-2014, after which T.O.O.Ms.
No.83 was issued.
        27. But what happened from the year 2013 till the year
2015 may not be an answer to the core issue. We hope that
the decision taken in T.O.O.Ms.No.134, dated 11-09-2008,
was also a conscious decision taken after proper application
of mind. As we have pointed out earlier, the AICTE was
established in the year 1945 and it gained Statutory
recognition only in the year 1987 under the AICTE Act, 1987.
Similarly, SBTET was established in the year 1957 and it
gained Statutory recognition only under the A.P. Education
Act, 1982.
        28. At the time when the A.P. Education Act, 1982 was
passed, the AICTE was just an expert body, without any
statutory functions. The statutory functions came to be
conferred upon the AICTE only in the year 1987.
        29. Despite this fact, the A.P. Education Act, 1982 made
it mandatory for SBTET to work in liaison with the AICTE and
follow the mandate of the AICTE even at a time when the
AICTE had no statutory role to perform.
        30. It is contended by the learned Senior Counsel for
the Corporation that since the courses offered by SBTET and
the Polytechnics through which they were offered were
already granted approval by the AICTE, the question of
obtaining approval for the programmes offered through CCC
mode would not arise. But we think that the said contention
goes against the scheme of the AICTE Act. The reasons for
this conclusion of ours are:
        (i) SBTET is mandated by Section 6(2)(b) of the A.P.
Education Act, 1982 to work in liaison with the AICTE
in the formulation of the schemes in the State. Under
Section 6(2)(c), SBTET is to affiliate or recognize institutions
conducting courses below undergraduate level and prescribe
courses of study for them. Under Section 6(2)(e), the Board is
obliged to conduct examinations and award Diplomas and 
Certificates conforming to the minimum standards
prescribed by the AICTE. Therefore, there is a statutory
compulsion for SBTET to adhere to the minimum standards 
prescribed by the AICTE. Hence, if a programme through CCC 
mode is formulated without the approval of the AICTE, the
same cannot be said to have passed the check post with
reference to the minimum standards prescribed by the AICTE.
If the Diplomas offered through CCC mode by SBTET do not 
conform to the minimum standards prescribed by the AICTE,
the said Diplomas are not valid. The question whether they
conform to the minimum standards or not, has to be
answered only by the AICTE in view of Section 6(2)(e). In the
absence of any approval/recognition/certification by the
AICTE that the Diplomas offered through CCC mode adhere 
to the minimum standards prescribed by the AICTE, these
Diplomas cannot be taken to be valid in the light of the
mandate of Section 6(2)(e) of the A.P. Education Act, 1982.
        (ii) Section 2(h) of the AICTE Act, 1987 defines
a technical institution to mean an institution not being
a University, offering courses or programmes of Technical
Education. What is important to note from Section 2(h) of the
AICTE Act is that it talks about courses as well as
programmes of Technical Education. If Diploma in
Engineering is a course, the mode of study is a programme.
Keeping this in mind if we go to Section 10(1)(k) of the AICTE
Act, 1987, it could be seen that the AICTE is vested with the
duty to take all steps  (a) for ensuring coordinated and
integrated development of Technical and Management 
Education and (b) maintenance of standards, with respect to
the grant of approval for starting new Technical Institutions
and for introduction of new courses or programmes. It is
pertinent to note that the distinction between courses
and programmes, inscribed in Section 2(h) of the Act,
is maintained even in Section 10(1)(k) of the AICTE Act.
Section 10(1)(k) speaks about approval for starting new
Technical Institutions and for introduction of new courses or
programmes. 
        31. Therefore, if the particular programme viz., CCC
programme offered by SBTET did not have the approval as
required by Section 10(1)(k), the same would be in excess of
the statutory functions conferred upon SBTET under
Section 6(2)(e) of the A.P. Education Act, 1982, also.
        32. To put it differently, the Diploma offered by SBTET
may come within the purview of an approved course.
The Polytechnics through which the Diplomas were offered
may come within the purview of approved Technical
Institutions. But the CCC programme through which such
Diplomas are offered, if not approved, will make such
Diplomas not valid.
        33. Therefore, we are of the considered view that the
Management of the Corporations took a valid, conscious
and wise decision under T.O.O.Ms.No.134, dated 11-09-2008, 
to recognize only those Diplomas offered by SBTET, which
had the recognition of the AICTE. Through consultations with
the School Education Department or the State Council of
Higher Education, SBTET cannot make these Diplomas valid, 
as these administrative decisions cannot cure a violation of
the statutory mandate under Section 10(1)(k) of the AICTE
Act, 1987 read with section 6(2)(e) of the A.P. Education Act,
1982.
        34. The learned Senior Counsel for the APTRANSCO and 
other learned counsel appearing for private parties who
secured Diplomas through CCC mode, pressed into service, 
the ratio laid down by the Supreme Court in Bharathidasan
University v. AICTE . But the said decision revolved around
the distinction between a University and a Technical
Institution. Therefore, the said decision may be of relevance
when we deal with the validity of the Degrees offered by
JNTUH, that forms the next part of the discussion.
        35. There are a couple of writ petitions challenging the
validity of T.O.O.Ms.No.134 dated 11-9-2008, and various
subsequent orders, by which the Diplomas offered by SBTET 
through CCC programs are declared valid only if they had the
approval of the AICTE. The contention of the petitioners in
these cases is that Annexure-III of the A.P. State Electricity
Board Service Regulations merely prescribes a Diploma in
a particular branch of Engineering recognized by the State of
Andhra Pradesh as a valid qualification for appointment to
certain posts. For instance, the table in Annexure-III to the
A.P. State Electricity Board Service Regulations prescribes
a Diploma in Electrical / Mechanical / Civil / Telecom
Engineering or any other equivalent qualifications recognized
by the Board/Government of Andhra Pradesh as 
a qualification for appointment to the post of Sub Engineer.
        36. The contention of the candidates who had secured
Diplomas through CCC mode is that once they hold a valid
Diploma offered by SBTET and recognized by the Government 
of Andhra Pradesh, they satisfy the eligible criteria prescribed
in the table under Annexure-III of the Service Regulations.
Since the Service Regulations are issued in exercise of the
power conferred by Section 79(c) of the Electricity (Supply)
Act, 1948, they have statutory force and that these Service
Regulations, in the contention of these persons, cannot be
tampered with by way of Board Proceedings or Office Orders,
which are mere executive instructions.
        37. It does not require a great deal of research to accept
that the Service Regulations framed in exercise of the power
conferred by a Statute, have statutory force and that these
Regulations cannot be diluted or modified, by way of
executive instructions.
        38. But it must be pointed out that the APSEB Service
Regulations were issued way back on 21-8-1967 under 
B.P.Ms.No.547 and they were notified in the Official Gazette
under B.P.Ms.No.199, dated 04-3-1970. At that time (viz.,
1967 and 1970) we had the AICTE without a statutory
function and SBTET without a statutory recognition.
The statutory recognition for the AICTE came in 1987 and the
statutory recognition for SBTET came in 1982.
        39. Therefore, the expressions recognized by State
Board/Government of Andhra Pradesh appearing in
Annexure-III to the Service Regulations, should be
understood to mean those Diplomas that were valid in terms
of Section 6(2)(e) of the A.P. Education Act, 1982 read with
Section 10(1)(k) of the AICTE Act, 1987.
        40. In fact, if the Service Regulations are to be literally
interpreted, the reference to the State Board in Annexure-III
of the Service Regulations should be construed to mean a
State Board without a statutory recognition. This is due to the
fact that at the time when the Service Regulations were
framed in 1970, the State Board remained a mere expert body
without statutory functions. Therefore, what was contained in
the Service Regulations framed in 1970 should be taken to
mean only a State Board without a statutory recognition, if a
literal interpretation is taken. This will lead to absurd results.
Therefore, the only way the Service Regulations are to be read
is to read them in tune with the statutory prescriptions
contained in the 1982 Act and the 1987 Act.
        41. In other words, T.O.O.Ms.No.134 dated 11-09-2008,
was not an executive instruction issued in modification or
amendment of the Service Regulations. It was only
a clarification issued to the Service Regulations and
it provided an indicator as to how the Service Regulations are
to be read in tune with statutory prescription.
        42. Therefore, in fine, we hold that insofar as Diplomas
offered by SBTET are concerned, they would be valid for all
purposes, only if the programmes through which they were
offered by SBTET such as CCC programmes, have had the   
approval of the AICTE. Hence, the writ petitions challenging
the prescription relating to recognition by the AICTE are liable
to be dismissed and the prescription relating to recognition by
the AICTE is upheld.
Degrees through CCC mode: 
        43. That takes us to the next question relating to
Degrees in Engineering.
        44. As we have seen earlier, the UGC Act came first in
1956, the JNTU Act came next in 1972, the A.P. Education
Act came in 1982, the IGNOU Act came in the year 1985 and 
the AICTE Act came in 1987.
        45. But the Service Regulations for the employees of
the A.P. State Electricity Board were issued in 1970,
when shortcut methods to success in the field of
education were yet to be invented. Therefore, Annexure-III
to the A.P. State Electricity Board Service Regulations, 1970,
merely stipulated a Degree offered by a University in India
established by or under a Central Act, Provincial Act or a
State Act or any other qualification recognized as equivalent
thereto, as a qualification for recruitment to certain posts. On
the basis of the prescription contained in Annexure-III to the
APSEB Service Regulations, it was contended by one set of
learned counsel led by Mr. Vedula Venkata Ramana, learned 
Senior Counsel that all T.O.Os., issued by the Board or the
Corporations were totally invalid and ultra vires, since these
executive instructions could not cause inroads into the
statutory scheme. It is the contention of these counsel that
since the Service Regulations were issued in exercise of the
power conferred by Section 79(c) of the Electricity (Supply)
Act, 1948, the same constitute the delegated legislation.
Hence, without an amendment to these Regulations, the
Board cannot, according to the learned counsel, invalidate
certain Degrees, through executive instructions.
        46. But as we have pointed out in our discussion in the
previous chapter, the Service Regulations were issued in 1967
and notified in 1970. At that time, the UGC Act, 1956, alone
was in force. If the rigid interpretation now sought to be given
by the learned counsel is accepted, then the words
University established under a State Act appearing in the
Service Regulations should not also be taken to apply to the
Degrees conferred by JNTU, since the JNTU Act came in 1972 
and it was not in existence in 1970 when the Service
Regulations were notified. It is only by understanding the
meaning of the words University established by a State Act
appearing in the table under Annexure-III to the Service
Regulations, to encompass within itself, the Degrees awarded
by Universities created even after the issue of the Service
Regulations, that the petitioners are now able to contend that
they hold a Degree within the meaning of the Service
Regulations. Otherwise, it is not possible to project or
telescope the Service Regulations into the future.
        47. As we have stated elsewhere, the Service
Regulations were not tampered with by successive T.O.Os.
T.O.O.Ms.No.134 dated 11-09-2008, merely offered the
manner in which the prescriptions contained in the table
under Annexure-III to the Service Regulations have to be read
and understood. Therefore, the contention that the executive
instructions cannot override statutory regulations,
is something that cannot be applied to the situation on hand.
It is settled law that executive instructions cannot supplant
but can always supplement the statutory regulations. After
the Service Regulations were framed in 1967 and notified in
1970, a series of developments have taken place with the
creation of the JNTU under the 1972 statutory enactment,
the enactment of the A.P. Education Act in 1982, the coming
into force of the Parliamentary enactment IGNOU in the year
1985 and the statutory recognition granted to the AICTE
under the 1987 Parliamentary enactment. Therefore, just as
we understand the words State Act appearing in the 1970
Service Regulations to include a State enactment that came
up in future in the form of the JNTU Act, 1972, we have to
understand the same to be in tune with all future
developments. What T.O.O.Ms.No.134 did was to provide 
a new tool for breaking the code contained in the Service
Regulations. It did not alter or amend the Statutory
Regulations. Therefore, the challenge to T.O.O.Ms.No.134
dated 11-09-2008, should go.
        48. As a matter of fact, what has happened from the
year 2006 up to the year 2017, would show that the Boards
of Management of these Corporations have wavered in
their decisions from one extreme to the other, depending
upon the density of the pressure exerted by the rival
groups of employees. Even according to Mr. G.Vidya Sagar,
learned Senior Counsel appearing for TSTRANSCO, the series 
of disputes began on 18-10-2006 when APGENCO sought   
a clarification regarding the Degrees/Diplomas offered by the
Institute of Advanced Studies and Education, Rajasthan.
The State Government clarified on 12-04-2007 that they are
not recognized. The APTRANSCO then issued T.O.O.   
Ms.No.69 dated 06-07-2007, directing that the Degrees/
Diplomas awarded by Deemed Universities through Distance 
mode shall not be recognized for appointment or for any other
service benefit unless the Degrees were recognized by the
UGC, DEC and AICTE. 
        49. It was followed by T.O.O.Ms.No.195 dated
14-12-2007, declaring that the Degrees/Diplomas awarded by
the Universities/Institutions established outside the State
through Distance mode shall not be recognized. Thereafter,
a writ petition came to be filed in W.P.No.16355 of 2007
challenging T.O.O.Ms.No.69. An interim order was passed in
the said writ petition on 11-12-2007 directing the A.P. State
Higher Education Council to go into the matter. Accordingly,
the Government issued a clarification on 24-04-2008
reiterating that the Degrees/Diplomas awarded by IASE,
Rajasthan, through Distance mode are not recognized.
        50. However, promotions were sought to be given in
deviation of the clarification forcing another interim order to
be passed in the pending writ petition on 24-04-2008.
        51. T.O.O.Ms.No.134 dated 11-09-2008, was reaffirmed
in T.O.O.Ms.No.186 dated 27-10-2008. But the State got
bifurcated on 02-06-2014 after which T.O.O.Ms.No.83 dated
17-04-2015, was issued diluting T.O.O.Ms.Nos.134 and 186.
This dilution was put on hold under T.O.O.Ms.No.101 dated
26-05-2015. But later T.O.O.Ms.No.83 was affirmed in T.O.O.
Ms.No.385, dated 17-02-2017, followed by T.O.O.Ms.No.151 
dated 13-10-2017.
        52. Therefore, it is clear that from one extreme to the
other, the fortunes of candidates have fluctuated with the
decision making body oscillating from one end to the other.
        53. According to Mr. G.Vidya Sagar, learned Senior
Counsel appearing for TSTRANSCO, it was true that the
Boards of Management came under pressure from rival group 
of employees, some of whom also took interim orders from
this Court one way or the other. Therefore, in order to remove
the impasse, the Corporation sought a clarification on
19-01-2013. At first, the A.P. State Higher Education Council
submitted a report on 28-01-2013 holding that the Degrees
awarded by Deemed Universities are not recognized. But
subsequently, IGNOU issued a Notification dated 04-05-2013
repelling Statute No.28 by which Distance Education Council
was constituted. The Ministry of Human Resources
Development issued an Office Memorandum dated 16-05- 
2013 notifying repeal of DEC.
        54. Consequent upon the dissolution of DEC, the
University Grants Commission issued a Memo dated 
28-5-2013 stipulating that no further affiliations/approvals
could be granted to any new ODL Programme. 
        55. It was followed by a Public Notice issued by the UGC
on 27-06-2013 to the effect that the Deemed Universities
should not offer courses on Distance Education mode.
        56. Then it was the turn of the A.P. Public Service
Commission to seek a clarification from the Government with
regard to the Degrees offered by JNTU through CCC mode.
Upon receipt of this request from the APPSC on 07-10-2013,
the State Government wrote to the State Council for Higher
Education on 05-11-2013. The State Council for Higher
Education gave an opinion on 20-11-2013 to the effect that
the State Government Universities are competent to run
academic programmes through Distance mode in the 
identified jurisdiction with the approval of their Executive
Council.
        57. Thereafter, a meeting was convened on 09-12-2013
by the Higher Education Department. It was resolved in the
meeting that the B.Tech degrees offered by JNTUH through
Distance mode is valid and that the same should be restricted
for students who got admitted till the year 2009.
        58. The State Government accordingly addressed 
a letter to the APPSC on 27-01-2014.
        59. Therefore, it is clear that the pendulum has swung
from one extreme to another with stakeholders within the
State offering opinions. But surprisingly, no consultation
was made either by the Public Service Commission or by
the State Higher Education Council or by the State
Government, either with UGC or with the AICTE or with
DEC.
        60. The contentions of Mr. G.Vidya Sagar, learned
Senior Counsel appearing for TSTRANSCO, and all other 
learned counsel supporting the latest decision of the
Corporation in T.O.O.Ms.No.151 dated 13-10-2017 are
        (a) that the JNTUH is a University established by a State
enactment and hence it has a right to confer Degrees under
Section 22(1) of the UGC Act, 1956;
        (b) that by virtue of the judgment of the Supreme Court
in Bharathidasan University v. AICTE, the All India
Council for Technical Education may have a role to play in
respect of Technical Institutions but not Universities created
by statutory enactments;
        (c) that the Distance Education Council was a creation
only of the statutes of the IGNOU and hence the same cannot
dictate terms to a University created by a State enactment;
        (d) that JNTU has been offering Degree courses in
Engineering through CCC mode from the year 1983, even 
before DEC was born under the IGNOU Act, 1985 and even 
before the issue of the AICTE Act, 1987 and hence these
authorities cannot destroy the autonomy of JNTUH;
        (e) that the admission of students to the CCC mode
offered by JNTUH, was through a limited competitive
examination and by applying the rule of reservation, since the
number of seats available are very limited and the students
admitted to these programmes, have the same syllabus,
undergo the course of study for a duration of four years with
15 days in a year organized as compulsory contact
programmes and that therefore these Degrees cannot be
belittled.
Contention 1 ( inter play between UGC Act and JNTU Act)
        61. The first contention revolves around the interplay
between the UGC Act, 1956 and the JNTU Act, 1972. 
The UGC Act defines a University to mean a University
established or incorporated by or under a Central Act,
a Provincial Act or a State Act. But the definition takes within
its fold any institution which is recognized by the Commission
in accordance with the Regulations made under the Act, but
in consultation with the University. Section 3 of the UGC Act,
1956, empowers the Central Government on the advice of the
UGC to declare by notification in the Official Gazette, any
institution for Higher Education other than a University, to be
a Deemed University. Section 12 of the UGC Act, 1956, vests
with the Commission the duty to determine and maintain
standards of teaching, examination and research in
Universities.
        62. The right of conferring or granting a Degree can be
exercised in terms of Section 22(1) of the UGC Act, 1956, only
by a University established or incorporated by or under
a Central Act, a Provincial Act or a State Act or an institution
deemed to be a University under Section 3 or an institution
specially empowered by an Act of Parliament to confer
Degrees. But the word Degree appearing in Section 22(1) is
given a restricted meaning, under sub-section (3) of
Section 22. The word Degree, for the purposes of Section 22
is defined in Section 22(3) to mean any such Degree as may,
with the previous approval of the Central Government be
specified in this behalf by the Commission, by Notification in
the Official Gazette.
        63. A careful look at the scheme of Section 22 would
show that there are two types of restrictions contained
therein. The first is with respect to the University or
Institution that is empowered to confer a Degree and the
second is with respect to the nature of the Degrees that could
be conferred. Therefore, both the Institution as well as the
Degree offered, should pass the twin tests contained in
Section 22. While the Institution should pass the test under
sub-section (1), the Degree should pass the test under
sub-section (3).
        64. Therefore, as rightly contended by Mr. K.G. Krishna
Murthy, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the appellant
in the writ appeal, any and every Degree will not come within
the prescription contained in Section 22(3). If the label given
to a Degree alone matters, institutions may start
offering the Degrees as notified by the Commission in the
Official Gazette, with the duration of even six months or
even one year. Therefore, there is no point in contending that
JNTU is offering a Degree whose descriptive tag tallies with
words found in the Notification issued by the UGC in terms of
Section 22(3).
        65. Unless a Degree course offered by a University
which passes the test under Section 22(1), has been
previously approved by the Central Government and notified
by the Commission in the Official Gazette, it cannot be taken
to be a Degree within the meaning of Section 22(3) of the UGC
Act, 1956.
Contention 2 (role of AICTE)
        66. The next contention revolves around the role of the
AICTE and the decision of the Supreme Court in
Bharathidasan University.
        67. In Bharathidasan University, the University
commenced courses in Technology and Management, without   
the approval of the AICTE. The AICTE challenged the action of
Bharathidasan University and the challenge was sustained by
the Madras High Court, on the basis of a decision of the Full
Bench of this Court in M.Sambasiva Rao v. Osmania 
University . When the matter was taken to the Supreme
Court, the Supreme Court held that the autonomy of the
Universities cannot be belittled by making them subservient
to the AICTE. After noting the distinction between the
Universities and Technical Institutions maintained in the
AICTE Act, 1987 and also after noting that in several
provisions, the expressions University and Technical
Institution are used alongside each other, the Supreme
Court pointed out in Bharathidasan University that in
certain places, the word University is not used alongside the
expression Technical Institution. The Supreme Court
pointed out in particular, that Section 10(1)(k) of the AICTE
Act, uses the expression Technical Institutions alone and
not the word University and that therefore the same would
apply only to Technical Institutions and not Universities.
The Supreme Court also pointed out that the expression
Technical Institution defined under Section 2(h) of the
AICTE Act, specifically excludes a University and that
therefore Section 10(1)(k) cannot be extended to Universities.
        68. But nevertheless, the Supreme Court recorded in
the penultimate paragraph of its decision in
Bharathidasan University that the lack of requirement
for the Universities to take the approval of the AICTE,
would not mean that the Universities have no obligation
or duty to conform to the standards and norms laid
down by the AICTE for the purpose of ensuring
coordinated and integrated development of Technical
Education and maintenance of standards.
        69. Therefore, what follows from the decision in
Bharathidasan University is two fold viz., (a) that though
Technical Institutions coming within the meaning of Section
2(h) of the AICTE Act, 1987, may require approval of the
AICTE for starting technical courses and programmes,
Universities may not require such approval and (b) that
nevertheless the programmes so offered by the University
should conform to the standards and norms laid down by the
AICTE, for the purpose of ensuring coordinated and
integrated development of Technical Education and
maintenance of standards.
        70. Therefore, it may not be possible for anyone to
contend that the lack of approval of the AICTE, for the
Degree courses in Engineering offered by JNTUH through
CCC mode, made those degrees unrecognizable. But it is 
always possible to test whether a Degree in Technical
Education offered through CCC mode even if it be by
JNTUH, would conform to the standards and norms laid
down by the AICTE. The AICTE has taken a stand before us 
that the offering of Degree courses in Technical Education
through CCC mode, may not conform to the standards and 
norms fixed by the AICTE. Therefore, unless the Degrees
offered through CCC mode conform to the standards and
norms fixed by the AICTE, the Degrees so offered by the
University, even if it be a University created by a State
enactment, may not be recognizable. They are not
recognizable, not because the University did not take
approval of the AICTE, but because the CCC mode may 
not conform to the standards and norms prescribed by
the AICTE. This is the ultimate test laid down in
Bharathidasan.
        71. In fact, certain developments have taken place after
Bharathidasan. Following the decision in Bharathidasan,
the Supreme Court held in Parshvanath Charitable Trust
v. AICTE  that AICTE is not intended to be an authority
either superior to or to supervise and control the Universities
and thereby superimpose itself upon such Universities merely
because they are imparting Technical Education. The Court
further held in Parshvanath Charitable Trust that the role
of the AICTE is only advisory, recommendatory and one of
providing guidance thereby subserving the cause of
maintaining appropriate standards and qualitative norms and
not as an authority empowered to issue and enforce any
sanctions by itself.
        72. In Association of Management of Private
Colleges v. AICTE , the issue whether Private Colleges
affiliated to Bharathidasan University and Manonmaniam
Sundaranar University were required to seek approval of the
AICTE, for offering MBA and MCA courses, arose for
consideration. The Private Colleges contended that they were
governed only by the UGC Act, 1956 and the State Act
concerning the University in question and not by the AICTE
Act. Reliance was placed upon the decision in
Bharathidasan University. The Supreme Court framed six
points for consideration, the first of which was whether the
colleges affiliated to a University come within the purview of
the definition of the expression Technical Institution under
Section 2(h) of the AICTE Act, 1987 and the second of which
was whether the AICTE has got control and supervision over
the affiliated colleges of the respective Universities. Both these
points were answered by the Supreme Court in favour of the
Private Colleges by following the decisions in Bharathidasan
and Parshvanath Charitable Trust.
        73. It is relevant to note that the decision in
Bharathidasan University was delivered on 24.09.2001. The
said decision was followed in Parshvanath Charitable Trust,
which was delivered on 13.12.2012. Both these decisions
were cited with approval in Association of Management Private
Colleges, delivered on 25.04.2013. Thus the mantra of
Bharathidasan University worked miracles for a period of 12
years.
        74. But it appears that the magic started waning, when
a two Member Bench passed an order on 24.03.2014 in 
W.P.No.895 of 2013, directing the matter to be listed before a
Bench of three Judges. It was followed by an order passed on
09.05.2014 in S.L.P. (Civil).No.7277 of 2014 by a four
Member Bench holding that prior approval of AICTE was
compulsory and mandatory for the conduct of a technical
course including MBA, by an existing affiliated technical
college and also new technical college which will require
affiliation by a university for the conduct of its technical
courses or programmes. 
        75. All the aforesaid developments were taken note of by
the Supreme Court in Varun Saini v. Guru Gobind Singh
Indaprastha University . In paragraph 16 of its decision in
Varun Saini, the Supreme Court highlighted that the
jurisdiction of AICTE got clarified by the order dated
09.05.2014 passed by a four Member Bench to the effect that
prior approval of AICTE was compulsory and mandatory for
the conduct of technical courses including MBA. Though the
batch of cases before the Supreme Court in Varun Saini,
merely sought extension of time schedule originally fixed in
Parshvanath, the Court nevertheless noted the significant
development that took place with the order passed on
09.05.2014 by a four Member Bench. In fact the batch of
cases that were before the Supreme Court in Varun Saini,
related to a notification issued by the university in respect of
several courses, some of which were covered by AICTE
regulations and some covered only by university statutes.
Therefore, the Supreme Court, in Varun Saini segregated in
paragraph 19 of the report, the courses covered by AICTE
regulations and the courses covered by university Statutes.
After noting the difference between these two types of
courses, the Supreme Court took up for consideration in
paragraph-20, the courses that are regulated by AICTE Act
and regulations. In fact in para-20, the Supreme Court
recorded the submission of the learned Attorney General
appearing for AICTE that after the pronouncement of the
judgment in Association of Management Private Colleges,
AICTE was in search of its jurisdiction/authority, till it was
recognized to have the power, all though by an interim order
dated 09.05.2014.
        76. Therefore, it is clear from Varun Saini that the
strength of the opinion rendered in Bharathidasan University,
applied with all virility in Association of Management Private
Colleges, may get diluted and the issue appears to be pending
consideration.
        77. After the decision in Varun Saini, a question relating
to the validity of the degrees in engineering, awarded by
certain deemed to be universities, such as, J.R.N. Rajasthan
Vidyapeeth University, Udaipur, Institute of Advanced Studies
in Education, Rajasthan, Allahabad Agricultural Institute,
Uttar Pradesh and Vinayaka Mission Research Foundation, 
Salem, through Distance mode, came up for consideration
before the Supreme Court in Orissa Lift Irrigation
Corporation limited v. Rabi Sankar Patro . The Supreme
Court held in the said decision:
(a) that AICTE Regulations, 1994 would apply to deemed to be
universities and that the deemed to be universities were not
justified in introducing any new courses in technical
education without the approval of AICTE;
(b) that the ex post facto approval granted by UGC to the
programmes offered during the academic session 2001-2005, 
were illegal;
(c) that all the degrees in engineering by the concerned
deemed to be universities will stand suspended;
(d) that AICTE shall advice the modalities for the conduct of
appropriate tests for the students to enable them to have
their degrees validated;
(e) that students, who were admitted after the academic
sessions 2001-2005, will have their degrees cancelled and
these students will be entitled to refund of tuition fees from
the universities;
(f) and that all deemed to be universities will be restrained
from carrying on any courses in distance education mode
from the academic cession 2018-19 onwards. 
        78. Some of the important features noted in or the
observations found in, the decision in Orissa Lift Irrigation
Corporation Limited are:
      (a) Though the Special Leave Petitions before the
Supreme Court arose out of one decision of the Punjab &
Haryana High Court and another decision of the High Court
of Orissa, to which AICTE and UGC were not parties, the
Supreme Court impleaded AICTE and UGC as parties while 
issuing notices in the Special Leave Petitions.
        (b) The status of deemed to be university was conferred
upon those four institutions named in the decision of the
Supreme Court in Orissa Lift Irrigation, keeping in view their
potential to offer academic programmes in specific domains of
knowledge, but they over stepped the jurisdiction to offer
programmes leading to award of degrees, which were not
within their field of specialization.
        (c) By virtue of the power conferred by Section 16 r/w
Section 24 and second Schedule to IGNOU Act, 1985, a 
Distance Education Council was constituted by a notification
dated 22.11.1991. Paragraph-4 of the notification
constituting DEC defined the powers and functions of the
Distance Education Council.
        (d) UGC, DEC and AICTE as well as the Ministry of
Human Resources Development of the Government of India, 
issued various notifications, circulars and guidelines, one of
which, viz., the UGC Regulations, stipulated that every
University enrolling students for the 1st degree course should
ensure that the actual number of teaching days does not go
below 180 in an academic year;
        (e) Though the National Policy on Education, 1986
issued by the Government of India allowed technical and
management education programmes to be on a flexible 
modular pattern and it also allowed programmes through
distance learning process, the National Policy made it clear
under para 6.19 of Part-6 that the AICTE will be responsible
for planning, formulation and maintenance of norms and
standards, accreditation etc;
        (f) AICTE Regulations, 1994 required the grant of
approval for any new technical institution or university
technical department;
        (g) The Government of India issued a notification dated
01.03.1995 recognizing the qualifications awarded through
distance education by all universities and institutions deemed
to be universities, provided they have been approved by the
Distance Education Council and wherever necessary by 
AICTE;
        (h) DEC published a set of guidelines on 03.07.1997
and UGC issued a set of guidelines in 2004 that a deemed to
be university is normally authorized to operate within its own
campus to conduct the authorized courses falling within the
area of their specialization;
        (i) As per UGC guidelines, deemed to be universities
could offer distance education programmes only with the
specific approval of the DEC and UGC.
        79. It is significant to note that the decision in
Bharathidasan University was pressed into service before the
Supreme Court in Orissa Lift Irrigation Corporation. In
paragraph 20 of its decision (paragraph number indicated as
given in SCALE), the Supreme Court noted that the guidelines
and notifications issued by UGC, AICTE and the Government 
of India after the decision in Bharathidasan University, went
on the presumption that prior approval of AICTE was not
required and that therefore they could grant ex post facto
approval. This ex post facto approval granted to J.R.N.
Rajasthan Vidyapeeth University, IASE, AAT, VMRF was 
found fault with by the Supreme Court in Orissa Lift
Irrigation, on the ground that they had not taken prior
permission and that none of them was having any regular
college or faculty in technology/engineering, in their own
campus.
        80. Interestingly, the Supreme Court in Orissa Lift
Irrigation, took note of the 2005 Regulations of AICTE, issued
after the decision in Bharathidasan University. These
Regulations known as AICTE Grant of Approval for Starting
New Technical Institutions, Introduction of Courses or
Programmes and Increase/Variation of Intake Capacity of
Seats for the Courses or Programmes and Extension of
Approval for the Existing Technical Institutions and
Maintenance of Norms and Standards in Universities Including
Deemed To Be Universities Regulations, 2005, were issued on
28.11.2005. Paragraph 2.5 of these Regulations was extracted
in pargraph-21.G of the decision of the Supreme Court
(paragraph number indicated as given in SCALE) in Orissa
Lift Irrigation. Paragraph-2.5 of the AICTE Regulations, 2005
required prior approval for starting a new technical
institution, not only by Government, Government aided or
private institutions, but also by any university including
deemed to be universities. Paragraph 2.5 (3) of the AICTE
Regulations 2005 reads as follows:
No university including deemed to be
university shall conduct technical courses/
programmes without ensuring maintenance of 
norms and standards prescribed by AICTE.

        81. The AICTE Regulations 2005 are not under
challenge. Paragraph 2.5 (2) of the AICTE Regulations
2005 extracted by the Supreme Court in paragraph 21.G
of its decision in Orissa Lift Irrigation made it clear that
no existing technical institution of Government,
Government aided or private institution whether
affiliated or not affiliated to a university shall conduct
any technical course/programme without prior approval
of the Council.
      82. Therefore, after the issue of 2005 Regulations,
which are not under challenge, the APTRANSCO thought fit to
issue T.O.O.Ms.No.134, dated 11.09.2008, so that persons,
who hold degrees awarded by the university through a
programme approved by the AICTE alone became entitled to 
service benefits arising out of the acquisition of such degrees.
        83. In Orissa Lift Irrigation, the Supreme Court also took
note of the stand taken by UGC in the affidavit filed by them
to the effect that after the notification, dated 01.03.1995
issued by MHRD, UGC mandated the requirement of approval 
of AICTE wherever necessary for programmes conducted by 
institutions deemed to be universities leading to the award of
degrees in Engineering through ODL mode. In the same 
affidavit, UGC also referred to a letter dated 29.07.2009
issued by MHRD requiring the erstwhile DEC to withdraw
permission given to various institutions to conduct B.Tech/
BE programmes through distance mode. 
        84. In fact, AICTE was also called upon to file an
affidavit before the Supreme Court. In an affidavit carefully
worded, so as to ensure not to be seen as offending the
decision in Bharathidasan University, AICTE took a stand
that the study centers and campuses of universities, which
were not the constituent units of the universities were
required to have prior approval of the AICTE for conducting
any technical course or programme. This could be seen from
paragraph 25 (paragraph number indicated as given in
SCALE) of the decision in Orissa Lift Irrigation.
        85. More importantly, the Supreme Court extracted in
paragraph 26 (paragraph number indicated as given in
SCALE) of its decision in Orissa Lift Irrigation, the stand taken
by MHRD in the affidavit filed before the Court. In the
affidavit, MHRD pointed out that though the Distance
Education Council started giving recognition from the year
2007 for the conduct of technical programmes under the
distance mode, it was in contradiction to the policy adopted
by AICTE. The policy of the AICTE was to make it mandatory
to conduct technical programmes through the regular
(conventional) mode of education. The MHRD also pointed out
that in view of the conflict between the stand taken by DEC
and the stand taken by AICTE, a confusion was created
among the stakeholders which gave an unfair advantage to
unscrupulous institutions.
      86. In paragraph 28 (paragraph number indicated as
given in SCALE) of its decision in Orissa Lift Irrigation, the
Supreme Court recorded the submission made by the amicus 
curiae in his note, to the effect that there is a vast
difference between open distance learning in general
fields and those in specialized fields and that though the
Court held in Bharathidasan University that AICTE had no
power of granting approvals to universities, the Court
nevertheless recognized the role played by AICTE. In fact, the
very same stand was taken even by the UGC in their written
submissions to the Supreme Court in Orissa Lift Irrigation.
This can be seen from paragraph 29 (paragraph number
indicated as given in SCALE) of the decision, where the
submission of the UGC that in Bharathidasan University,
the Court was not concerned with the question of
regulatory framework of open distance learning, was
recorded.
      87. In the back drop of the stand taken by UGC, AICTE
and MHRD, the Supreme Court concluded in para-35 
(paragraph number indicated as given in SCALE) of its
decision in Orissa Lift Irrigation that even post facto approvals
granted to institutions deemed to be universities were
opposed to the policy statements governing the matters in
issue. The Supreme Court the proceeded to discuss the ratio
in Bharathidasan University, from paragraph 37 (paragraph
number indicated as given in SCALE) onwards. In paragraph
38 (paragraph number indicated as given in SCALE), the
Supreme Court made certain observations, which are very
relevant for our purpose. They are extracted as follows:
38. Technical education leading to the award of
degrees in Engineering consists of imparting of
lessons in theory as well as practicals. The
practicals form the backbone of such education
which is hands-on approach involving actual
application of principles taught in theory under
the watchful eyes of Demonstrators or Lecturers.
Face to face imparting of knowledge in theory
classes is to be reinforced in practical classes.
The practicals, thus, constitute an integral part
of the technical education system. If this
established concept of imparting technical
education as a qualitative norm is to be modified
or altered and in a given case to be substituted by
distance education learning, then as a concept
the AICTE ought to have accepted it in clear
terms. What parameters ought to be satisfied if
the regular course of imparting technical
education is in any way to be modified or altered,
is for AICTE alone to decide. The decision must be
specific and unequivocal and cannot be inferred
merely because of absence of any Guidelines in
the matter. No such decision was ever expressed
by AICTE. On the other hand, it has always
maintained that courses leading to degrees in
Engineering cannot be undertaken through
distance education mode. Whether that approach 
is correct or not is not the point in issue. For the
present purposes, if according to AICTE such
courses ought not to be taught in distance
education mode, that is the final word and is
binding  unless rectified in a manner known to
law. Even National Policy on Education while
emphasizing the need to have a flexible, pattern
and programmes through distance education 
learning in technical and managerial education,
laid down in Para 6.19 that AICTE will be
responsible for planning, formulation and
maintenance of norms and standards including
maintenance of parity of certification and
ensuring coordinated and integrated development
of technical and management education. In our
view whether subjects leading to degrees in
Engineering, could be taught in distance
education mode or not is within the exclusive
domain of the AICTE.

        88. It is true that the Supreme Court recognized in
paragraph-43 (paragraph number indicated as given in
SCALE) of its decision in Orissa Lift Irrigation that
conceptually there is some difference between the status of a
university established under a State law and that of a deemed
to be university. However, the Supreme Court also noted the
change of perception that took place with the advent of the
decision in Annamalai University v. Secretary to
Government .
        89. We have taken pains to analyze in extenso, the
decision of the Supreme Court in Orissa Lift Irrigation, for the
simple reason that the sheet anchor of the case of the
management as well as the employees who secured degrees   
through CCC mode is that the decision in Orissa Lift Irrigation
is limited in its application only to deemed to be universities.
But a careful analysis that we have done above, would show
that the Supreme Court formulated general principles, after
taking note of the detailed submissions made by DEC, UGC 
and AICTE and applied those general principles to
institutions deemed to be universities. We have already
extracted the observations made in paragraph 38 of its
decision in Orissa Lift Irrigation. It was stated in no uncertain
terms by the Supreme court, in Orissa Lift Irrigation that
what parameters ought to be satisfied if the regular course
of imparting technical education is in any way to be modified
or altered, is for AICTE alone to decide. The decision must be
specific and unequivocal and cannot be inferred merely
because of absence of any Guidelines in the matter. No such
decision was ever expressed by AICTE. On the other hand, it
has always maintained that courses leading to degrees in
Engineering cannot be undertaken through distance
education mode. Whether that approach is correct or not is
not the point in issue. For the present purposes, if according
to AICTE such courses ought not to be taught in distance
education mode, that is the final word and is binding
unless rectified in a manner known to law. The principle
formulated in the last line namely that if according to AICTE,
such courses ought not to be taught in distance education
mode, that is the final word and is binding is not limited to
deemed to be universities.
    90. As a matter of fact, similar sentiments were echoed
by the Supreme Court in Varun Saini also, though the same
concerned the relaxation of time schedule prescribed in
Parshvanath. The first paragraph of the decision in Varun
Saini stresses the sacro-sanctity of formal education in the
following words:
Education is the spine of any civilised society. Formal
education has its own significance, for it depends upon
systemic imparting of learning regard being had to the
syllabus prescribed for the course and further allowing
space for cultivation by individual endeavour. The
sacrosanctity of formal education gains more importance
in the field of technical studies because theory, practical
training and application in the field cumulatively operate
to make a student an asset to the country and, in a way,
enables him to achieve excellence as contemplated
under Article 51A of the Constitution. The natural
corollary, in the ultimate eventuate, is the acceleration of
the growth of the nation
Therefore, the contention of the managements of Andhra
Pradesh and Telangana TRANSCO and other corporations as   
well as the individual employees, who secured degrees
through CCC mode from JNTUH, that AICTE has no role to 
play in view of the decision in Bharathidasan University
cannot hold water any more, especially in the light of the
observations of the Supreme court in Orissa Lift Irrigation,
which we have extracted in para 87 above.
Contentions- 3 and 4 (Role of Distance Education Council
and AICTE both of which came into existence much later)

      91. The third contention is that the Distance Education
Council was only a creation of the Statues of IGNOU and
hence the creature of a Statute of a University cannot have
control over a University created by a Statutory enactment.
The fourth contention is that since JNTU has been offering
degree courses in engineering through CCC mode from the
year 1983, even before DEC was born on 22.11.1991 under 
the IGNOU Act, 1985 and even before the issue of the AICTE
Act, 1987, a requirement of approval from these two
authorities could not be imposed upon them.
      92. It is true that the Indira Gandhi National Open
University was created by an Act of Parliament i.e., Act No. 50
of 1985. The object of the Act was to establish and
incorporate an Open University at the National level for the
introduction and promotion of an Open University and
distance education systems in the educational pattern of the
country and for the coordination and determination of
standards in such systems. The Act should be seen as one 
enacted by the Parliament in terms of Entry No. 66 of List I of
the VII Schedule to the Constitution.
      93. Section 4 of the IGNOU Act, 1985 speaks about the
objects of the university in the following terms:
      The objects of the University shall be to advance
and disseminate learning and knowledge by a diversity of
means, including the use of any communication
technology, to provide opportunities for higher education
to a larger segment of the population and to promote the
educational well being of the community generally, to
encourage the Open University and distance
education systems in the educational pattern of the
country and to coordinate and determine the
standards in such systems, and the University shall, in
organising its activities, have due regard to the objects
specified in the First Schedule.

      94. Section 5(1) of the IGNOU Act, 1985 enlists the
powers of the University. Sub-Section (2) of Section 5 vests
IGNOU with a duty to take all steps as it may deem fit for the
promotion of the Open University and distance education
systems and for the determination of standards of teaching,
evaluation and research in such systems. Sub-Section (2) of
Section 5 reads as follows:
      Notwithstanding anything contained in any other
law for the time being in force, but without prejudice to
the provisions of sub-section (1), it shall be the duty of
the University to take all such steps as it may deem
fit for the promotion of the open university and
distance education systems and for the
determination of standards of teaching, evaluation
and research in such systems, and for the purpose of
performing this function, the University shall have such
powers, including the power to allocate and disburse
grants to Colleges, whether admitted to its privileges or
not, or to any other university or institution of higher
learning, as may be specified by the Statutes

      95. A careful look at Sub-Sections (1) and (2) of Section
5 would show that while Sub-Section (1) lists out the powers
of the University, Sub-Section (2) speaks about the duty of
the University and the residual powers that the University will
have for the purpose of performing its duties and its
functions.
      96. What is significant to note from the 2nd part of Sub-
Section (2) of Section 5 is that IGNOU was vested with such
powers, including the power to allot funds to colleges,
whether admitted to its privileges or not or to any other
University. Therefore the exercise of the powers by IGNOU
was not merely confined to the colleges admitted to the
privileges of the University, but also to other colleges as well
as any other University.
      97. What is contained in the 2nd part of Sub-Section (2)
of Section 5 is also fortified by Section 6. Section 6 of the Act
as it originally stood reads as follows:
      The University shall in the exercise of its powers
have jurisdiction over the whole of India and to the Study
Centres outside India.
      98. Section 24 of the IGNOU Act, 1985 enlisted the
matters for which provision may be made in the Statutes of
the University. One of the matters included in the said list is
to be found in Clause (j) of Section 24 which reads as follows:
The coordination and determination of standards in the
Open University and distance education system and the
allocation and disbursement of grants to colleges and other
universities and institutions.
      99. Keeping these statutory provisions in mind, if we
look at the birth of the Distance Education Council, it could
be seen that the Distance Education Council was constituted
in terms of Statute No. 28. Therefore prima facie it appears
that the Distance Education Council was created as an
Expert Body for the coordination and determination of
standards in the Open university and distance education
systems. This is why DEC started granting approvals to
various universities.
      100. It could be seen from Section 25(1) and (2) that
while the first Statutes were set out in the II Schedule, the
power to make new or additional Statutes and the power to
amend or repeal the Statutes, was conferred upon the Board
of Management. But Section 40(2) of the Act required every
Statute made under the Act, to be laid before each House of
Parliament, before it can take effect.
      101. Therefore it follows that the Constitution of DEC
under Statute No. 28 of the II Schedule to the Act, is to be
construed as something done by the Parliament. This Statute
No. 28 was repealed pursuant to the decision of the 40th DEC
and 115th BOM and the repeal received the approval of the
Visitor (The President of India) and was notified by the
Government of India on 04.05.2013.
      102. It can be seen from a Notification bearing F. No. 1-
4/2013(cpp-II) dated 17.06.2013 that the Central
Government, in exercise of the powers conferred under
Section 20(1) of the UGC Act, 1956 issued a direction vide its
order dated 29.12.2010 that the UGC should act as a
regulator for higher education (excluding technical education)
through open and distance learning mode and that
universities offering any program/course in ODL mode shall
require recognition from the commission. Therefore the UGC
itself adopted, in exercise of power conferred by Section 12 of
the UGC Act, 1956, a set of guidelines earlier framed by DEC
under Statute No. 28 of the IGNOU Act, 1985 known as
Guidelines of DEC on Minimum Requirements for 
Recognition of ODL Institutions.
      103. Thus it is clear that UGC, DEC & AICTE were on
the same page, insofar as recognition of courses/programmes
offered under the ODL mode were concerned. 
      104. As we have pointed out earlier, the Supreme Court
discussed thread bear, the provisions of IGNOU Act, 1985
and the Notification dated 22.11.1991 constituting DEC in
exercise of the powers conferred under Section 16(6) read
with Section 24 and the II Schedule to IGNOU Act. The
Supreme Court took note of paragraph 4 of the Notification by
which DEC was constituted. The Supreme Court also took 
note of the Notification of the Government of India dated
01.03.1995, by which all qualifications awarded through
distance education by all universities were declared as
recognised, provided they had been approved by the Distance
Education Council. The DEC itself had issued guidelines on
03.07.1997 itself in exercise of its Statutory functions.
      105. Therefore at least after the issue of the Notification
of the Government of India dated 01.03.1995, JNTU should
have realised that they needed the approval of the DEC and
AICTE to offer degrees in technical education through CCC
mode. Unlike Bharathidasan University, Madras University
and Annamalai University, all the 3 of which took their fight
with AICTE or DEC or UGC to Courts, JNTU did not challenge
the validity of the Notification of the Government of India
dated 01.03.1995 on the ground that the requirement of
approval by DEC and/or AICTE infringed upon their
autonomy. Therefore the Board of Management of 
APTRANSCO appears to have taken a conscious decision   
before issuing T.O.O Ms. No. 134 dated 11.09.2008 that in
the light of the Notification of the Government of India dated
01.03.1995 it was not possible to recognise the degrees
offered through distance mode, if such programmes did not
have the approval of the DEC. Therefore we are of the
considered view that JNTU should have taken approval either
from AICTE & DEC or at least from AICTE and UGC before 
offering degree courses in engineering through CCC mode.
Contention 5:
      106. The last contention is that the admission of
students to the CCC mode by JNTU was through a limited 
competitive examination, since the number of seats available
were very limited and that the students admitted to these
programmes have the same syllabus, undergo the course of 
study for a duration of four years with 15 days in a year being
compulsory as a contact programme and that therefore these
degrees cannot be belittled.
      107. This contention arises out of a misconception that
the degrees offered by JNTU are sought to be belittled. The
requirement for the driver of a car to fasten seat belt
does not arise out of a suspicion regarding his driving
skills. The requirement for a patient to undergo various
clinical tests for the purpose of diagnosis cannot be
taken as belittling the efficiency of a doctor. If there are
certain requirements in law to be fulfilled, the same should be
fulfilled. It may be apt to quote at this stage what Eduard
Christian Lindeman, said in his book The Meaning of Adult
Education the resource of highest value in adult
education is the learners experience. If education is life,
then life is also education. Too much of learning
consists of vicarious substitution of someone elses
experience and knowledge. Psychology is teaching us,
however, that we learn what we do and that therefore
all genuine education will keep doing and thinking
together.
      108. Therefore as the Honble Supreme Court pointed
out in its opening remarks in Varun Saini, the sacrosanctity
of formal education gains more importance in the field of
technical studies because theory, practical training and
application in the field, cumulatively operate to make a
student an asset to the country. Therefore we wonder as to
how in a period of 15 days in a year, a student of a degree
course in technical education will be able to complete his
practicals and laboratory assignments. Hence the fifth
contention is also to be rejected.
      109. One more contention advanced by the individuals
who acquired degrees through CCC mode is that the degrees 
obtained by them are not under challenge and that their
degrees cannot be declared invalid in collateral proceedings.
      110. This argument loses sight of the fact that we are
concerned in this batch of cases, a challenge to two different
sets of office orders issued by the managements of the
corporations. One set of office orders stated that the degrees
obtained through CCC mode will be recognised for the
purpose of service benefits, only if such degrees had the
approval of UGC, DEC & AICTE. Another set of office orders
had taken a contra view. It is these conflicting decisions of the
managements of Statutory corporations that are in question
in this batch of cases. Therefore we are not testing the validity
of the degrees awarded by the universities, but are testing
only the decision of the managements with regard to the
conditions for their recognition. Hence the last contention is
also flawed.
Contention regarding employers right
        111. The last contention of Mr. G.Vidya Sagar, learned
Senior Counsel appearing for the Corporation is that the
employer has a right to prescribe the qualifications required
for appointment to a post and that a decision taken by the
employer in this regard is in the realm of a policy decision.
Therefore, the learned Senior Counsel contended that the
Court cannot interfere with such a policy decision, unless the
policy is found to be vitiated by established parameters.
        112. We are in total agreement with the said contention
of the learned Senior Counsel appearing for the Telangana
Transmission Corporation. If only the employer has exercised
his right, without being trampled by one or the other group of
employees to take a decision in a particular way, we would
not be exercising our jurisdiction under Article 226 of the
Constitution of India at all over such matters. But what has
happened with this case, as we have repeatedly pointed out
earlier is that the policy decision taken by the employer
swung from one extreme to the other, depending upon the
weight of the pressure exerted by the employees, on and off
the Court. To begin with, the APTRANSCO issued T.O.O.Ms. 
No.69, dated 06-7-2007, holding that the Degrees/Diplomas
awarded through distance mode shall not be recognized
unless they were recognized by UGC, DEC and AICTE. It was 
followed by T.O.O.Ms.No.195, dated 14-12-2007. Then came 
T.O.O.Ms.No.134, dated 11-9-2008, making it clear that the
Degrees/Diplomas secured through distance mode will not be
recognized unless they have had the approval of UGC, DEC
and AICTE. This T.O.O.Ms.No.134, dated 11-9-2008, was 
reaffirmed in T.O.O.Ms.No.186, dated 27-10-2008.
        113. If the managements of the Corporations had stuck
to these orders on the ground that they are a reflection of the
policy decisions taken by the employer, all these problems
could have been solved. But the aforesaid office orders were
diluted by T.O.O.Ms.No.83, dated 17-4-2015. When one 
group of employees opposed this dilution, immediately the
Corporation issued T.O.O.Ms.No.101, dated 26-5-2015,
putting on hold T.O.O.Ms.No.83, dated 17-4-2015. But when
the other groups of employees put pressure, T.O.O.Ms.
No.385, dated 17-02-2017, was issued affirming T.O.O.Ms.
No.83. This was followed by T.O.O.Ms.No.151, dated
13-10-2017.
        114. If the employer was genuine in asserting their right
to prescribe the qualifications required for a particular post,
they could not have wavered from one extreme to the other.
If T.O.O.Ms.No.134 is at one end of the spectrum, T.O.O.Ms.
No.151 is at the other end of the same spectrum. We do not
know how the employer is still under the impression that they
have the freedom and free will to formulate a policy decision,
when history shows that within seven years, they have turned
the policy upside down two to three times.
        115. As a matter of fact, we wanted to recognize the
absolute freedom enjoyed by the employer in deciding the
qualifications necessary for appointment or promotion to any
post. But before doing so, we wanted to put to test, the extent
to which the employer is in a position to assert their rights.
Therefore, on the last date of hearing, we requested the
learned Senior Counsel appearing for TSTRANSCO and the 
Northern Power Distribution Company of Telangana Ltd., to
find out  (i) whether during the period from the date of issue
of T.O.O.Ms.No.134, dated 11-9-2008, up to the date of issue
of T.O.O.Ms.No.151, dated 13-10-2017, any promotions were 
given to candidates who had secured Degrees through CCC 
mode and (ii) whether T.O.O.Ms.No.151, dated 13-10-2017,
by which the decision in T.O.O.Ms.No.134, dated 11-9-2008
was reversed, would be implemented prospectively or
retrospectively.
      116. In response to the queries, the Joint Secretary,
TSTRANSCO, addressed a communication to the learned   
Senior Counsel in Lr.No.Jt.Secy/DS(Per.II)/AS(IR&R)/
PO(Regulation)/JPO/38/ 2016, dated ..-12-2017. It will be
useful to extract the contents of the said letter as follows:
Point
No.
Issue
Reply
1
Subsequent to issuance of TOO Ms. 
No.134, dt.11-9-2008, TOO
Ms.No.186, dt.27-10-2008 till the
issuance of TOO Ms.No.151, dt.13-10-
2017, whether promotions are given
to Graduates who acquired the
qualification from JNTU through CCC
mode and diploma holders under CCC 
mode from SBTET 
YES. Subsequent to 
issuance of TOO Ms. 
No.134, dt.11-9-
2008, TOO 
Ms.No.186, dt.27-10-
2008 till the
issuance of TOO Ms. 
No.151, dt.03-10-
2017 promotions
were given to
Graduates who were 
admitted during
2009 and acquired
the qualification
from JNTU through
CCC mode and 
Diploma Holders
under CCC mode 
from SBTET.
2
Whether any reversions are made to
the persons who are promoted with
qualifications from JNTUH (CCC
mode)/ SBTET Diplomas (CCC mode)   
after the orders of the Court in
various writ petitions.
NO
3
Whether the reversion orders issued
to the degree holders from JNTUH/
Diploma holders under CCC mode 
have been challenged in the Honble
High Court and if so what is the
status of the said cases.
NO
4
What is the decision of the
TRANSCO/ DISCOMS with regard to   
the date of implementation of TOO
Ms.No.151, dt.13-10-2017, i.e.,
whether it would be prospective from
13-10-2017 or w.e.f. 11-9-2008
11-9-2008
5
If TOO Ms.No.151, dt.13-10-2017 is
upheld along with TOO Ms.No.134, 
dt.11-9-2008, whether the degree
holders from JNTUH would be
entitled to promotions, if so, from
what date
YES 
6
Whether the TRANSCO/DISCOMS     
have obtained details with regard to
the number of personnel working in
the organization who have
qualifications of B.Tech. from
JNTUH/Diplomas from SBTET   
through CCC mode 
NO

        117. Similarly, the Northern Power Distribution
Company of Telangana Limited has also sent a
communication dated 17-12-2017 to the learned Senior
Counsel, giving their response.  Paragraphs-1 to 5 of the said
letter read as follows:
        1. Promotions and appointment by transfers were
given after issuance of T.O.O.Ms.No.134 Dt: 11-09-2008 to
the graduates who acquired the qualification from JNTU
through Correspondence-cum-contract mode and diploma 
holder through Correspondence-cum-contract mode from 
SBTET till December, 2015.
        2. No reversions are made in respect of above
mentioned candidates after the orders of the Court in
various writ petitions. However no further promotions are
effected to the Correspondence-cum-contract holders after
issuance of Court orders.
        3. No reversion orders were issued to the employees
promoted/appointed by transfer on acquiring degree from
JNTUH/Diploma from SBTET under CCC mode so far.   
        4. It is decided to implement the orders issued in
TOO 151, Dt. 13-10-2017 with retrospective effect from 11-
09-2008 i.e. date of issue of T.O.O.Ms.No.134, Dt: 11-09-
2008.
        5. The degree holders from JNTUH will be entitled for
promotions with effect from various dates on which their
juniors were considered for promotion/appointment by
transfer.
      118. The response of TSTRANSCO as well as NPDC of 
Telangana Ltd., actually brought the cat out of the bag. From
the response it is clear that T.O.O.Ms.No.134, dated 11-9-
2008, is decided to be scrapped retrospectively by giving effect
to T.O.O.Ms.No.151 retrospectively. This shows that the
policy decision taken by the Transmission Corporation in the
year 2008 under T.O.O. Ms.No.134, dated 11-9-2008, can be 
thrown to the winds.
        119. In fact, we have a few writ petitions challenging
T.O.O.Ms.No.134. The defence originally taken by the
Corporation to the challenge to T.O.O.Ms.No.134 was that it
was a policy decision. Now TSTRANSCO does not have   
objection to that policy decision of the year 2008 being set at
naught.
        120. In other words, the Corporation is now guilty of
taking two conflicting stands. It is alright for the Corporation
to set aside one policy decision reflected in T.O.O.Ms.No.134,
dated 11-9-2008, but it is not alright for the Corporation to
interfere with another policy decision reflected in T.O.O.Ms.
No.151, dated 13-10-2017. To put it differently, the only
policy of these corporations is to be inconsistent in their
policies.
        121. Thus the sanctity attached by the Corporation
itself to its policy decisions has now become too obvious. In
fact, the reply to query No.1 extracted above would show that
T.O.O. Ms.No.134, dated 11-9-2008, issued by way of policy
decision, was observed more in breach than in compliance
and hence the Corporation does not mind the policy decision
in T.O.O.Ms.No.134 being set aside. In such circumstances,
we are of the considered view that employers who are not
consistent in their policies, but make policies as matters
of convenience to satisfy one or the other group of
employees and employers who are prepared to sacrifice
one policy for upholding a diametrically opposite policy,
do not have the moral authority to contend that the
Court cannot interfere with policy decisions. Hence, the
last contention is also rejected.
        122. Having answered the two questions that we have
formulated in paragraph-1 of this judgment, we shall now
take up the individual cases, to record our opinion.
Writ Petition No.22385 of 2014:
        123. The petitioners in this writ petition secured
a B.Tech Degree through CCC mode while they were in 
service, during the academic year 2008-09. All of them
completed their Degree courses in December, 2012 or May, 
2013. It is interesting to note that the petitioners are working
in Kadapa but they claim to have attended classes in a study
centre at Tirupati. Their actual grievance is that they were not
considered for appointment by transfer as Sub Engineers on
account of a ban imposed under S.O.O.No.19, dated 
12-02-2014.
        124. But at the outset, the order impugned in the writ
petition viz., S.O.O.No.19, dated 12-02-2014, does not talk
about promotions or appointments by transfer. It merely
speaks about discontinuance of the sanction of increments
for possessing higher qualifications. Paragraph-7 of S.O.O.
No.19, dated 12-02-2014, makes it very clear that the said
office order deals only with the question of sanction of
increments for acquiring higher qualifications.
        125. Therefore, the petitioners in this writ petition
appear to have challenged an order that does not deal with
promotions or recruitment by transfer. Insofar as the
increments are concerned, paragraph-7 of S.O.O.No.19 shows 
that the discontinuance of the increments was ordered under
T.O.O.Ms.No.174, dated 10-9-2013 and T.O.O.Ms.No.5, dated 
08-01-2014. These two office orders are not under challenge.
        126. Therefore, the petitioners have challenged a wrong
order which does not deal with promotions. Even the order
challenged is only an order that reiterated earlier orders
which are not under challenge. In any case, the petitioners
secured part-time degrees during the period 2009-12.
Therefore, the writ petition deserves to be dismissed.
Accordingly, it is dismissed.
Writ Petition No.27569 of 2014:
        127. This writ petition is filed by persons who passed
Diploma in Electrical Engineering on full-time basis and who
got appointed thereafter as Sub Engineers by way of direct
recruitment. Their grievance is that in violation of T.O.O.
Ms.No.134, dated 11-9-2008, persons who secured Diploma 
through CCC mode were being appointed by promotion/ 
transfer as Sub Engineers/Additional Assistant Engineers.
        128. This writ petition deserves to be allowed on two
grounds. The first is that we have already held that the
Diplomas secured through CCC mode without the approval of
DEC and AICTE are not valid.
        129. Even assuming that our opinion on this issue is
wrong, the Corporation could not have violated their own
policy decision in T.O.O.Ms.No.134, dated 11-9-2008.
The order T.O.O.Ms.No.151, dated 13-10-2017, does not and 
cannot validate the violation of T.O.O.Ms.No.134, at least
until the date of issue of T.O.O.Ms.No.151. Therefore, on both
grounds, W.P.No.27569 of 2014 deserves to be allowed.
Accordingly, it is allowed.


Writ Petition No.39900 of 2014:
        130. This writ petition is filed by persons who secured
a Diploma in Electrical and Electronics Engineering through
CCC mode. On the basis of the said qualification, they were
appointed as Sub Engineers by recruitment by transfer in the
years 2007 and 2009. But their names were deleted from the
eligibility list, by order dated 19-12-2014, since their
recruitment by transfer was obviously in violation of T.O.O.
Ms.No.134. Therefore, they have come up with the above writ
petition challenging the deletion of their names.
        131. This writ petition deserves to be dismissed, since
their appointment by transfer to the post of Sub Engineer was
ordered during the period when T.O.O.Ms.No.134, dated
11-9-2008, was in force. The Diplomas secured by them
through CCC mode, were not recognizable. Hence, this writ
petition is dismissed.
Writ Petition No.40278 of 2014:
        132. The case of the petitioners in this writ petition is
exactly identical to the case of the petitioners in
W.P.No.39900 of 2014. The petitioners herein also secured
Diploma through CCC mode while in service, got appointed as
Sub Engineers by the method of recruitment by transfer in
the year 2008 and their names got deleted in the year 2014
on account of the prescriptions issued in T.O.O.Ms.No.134.
Therefore, this writ petition is also dismissed.
Writ Petition No.357 of 2015:
        133. The petitioners herein secured a Diploma through
CCC mode while they were in service and they are aggrieved
by the non-inclusion of their names in a list of Sub Engineers
who have completed five years of service. Their non-inclusion
was on account of T.O.O.Ms.No.134, dated 11-9-2008. We 
have already found that T.O.O.Ms.No.134, dated 11-9-2008,
deserves to be upheld. Therefore, as a consequence, the
impugned memo dated 19-12-2014 also deserves to be 
upheld. Hence, W.P.No.357 of 2015 is dismissed.
Writ Petition No.11575 of 2015:
        134. This writ petition challenges T.O.O.Ms.No.83,
dated 17-4-2015. By T.O.O.Ms.No.83, dated 17-4-2015, the
APTRANSCO diluted T.O.O.Ms.No.186, dated 27-10-2008.   
Since T.O.O.Ms.No.186, dated 27-10-2008, merely reiterates
T.O.O.Ms.No.134, dated 11-9-2008 and since we have upheld 
the validity of T.O.O.Ms.No.134, this writ petition deserves to
be allowed. Accordingly, it is allowed.
Writ Petition No.12356 of 2015:

      135. This Writ Petition challenges T.O.O Ms. No. 83
dated 17.04.2015. In other words the prayer in this Writ
Petition is the same as the prayer in WP. No. 11575 of 2015.
Therefore this Writ Petition is also allowed




Writ Petition No.17519 of 2015:

      136. The prayer in this Writ Petition is for directing the
respondents to strictly follow T.O.O Ms. No. 134 dated
11.09.2008. We have already indicated that T.O.O Ms. No.
134 dated 11.09.2008 reflects the correct position. Therefore
this Writ Petition is allowed.
Writ Petition No.26730 of 2015:

      137. This Writ Petition is filed by persons who
completed a degree or diploma in the regular stream.
Therefore they have come up with the above Writ Petition
seeking implementation of N.O.O. Ms. No. 181 dated
18.09.2008 issued by the Northern Power Distribution
Company of Andhra Pradesh Ltd to the effect that
degrees/diplomas offered through CCC mode can be 
recognised only if they had the approval of UGC, AICTE and
DEC. This Office Order N.O.O. Ms. No.181 is just a mirror
image of T.O.O Ms. No. 134. Therefore this Writ Petition
deserves to be allowed. Accordingly it is allowed.
Writ Petition No.30669 of 2015:

      138. The petitioners in this Writ Petition secured a
diploma in Electrical Engineering in the regular stream and
thereafter got appointment. They have challenged in this Writ
Petition, the promotions granted in violation of T.O.O Ms. No.
101 dated 26.05.2015. Therefore for the elaborate reasons
contained earlier, this Writ Petition deserves to be allowed.
Accordingly it is allowed.
Writ Petition No.32533 of 2015:

      139. The petitioners in this Writ Petition secured
diplomas through CCC mode after joining service. They have
challenged T.O.O Ms.No.101 dated 26.05.2015. Since T.O.O 
Ms.No.101 dated 26.05.2015 restored T.O.O Ms.No.134 dated 
11.09.2008, this Writ Petition should go. Accordingly it is
dismissed.
Writ Petition No.32570 of 2015:

      140. This Writ Petition challenges T.O.O Ms.No.101
dated 26.05.2015. Therefore following the order in previous
Writ Petition i.e., WP No. 32533 of 2015, this Writ Petition is
also dismissed.
Writ Petition No.37567 of 2015:

      141. The petitioners in this Writ Petition secured a
diploma through the regular stream. They have come up with
the above Writ Petition challenging the action of the
respondents in not considering their cases for promotion/
appointment by transfer as Sub-engineers but in considering
the cases of those who secured diploma through CCC mode. 
      142. In view of the discussion contained in the main
part of this order, this Writ Petition deserves to be allowed.
Accordingly it is allowed and the respondents are directed to
consider the cases of the petitioners for appointment as
Sub-engineers. But their claim for promotion from the date on
which their juniors got promoted with all consequential
benefits is rejected.
Writ Petition No.40048 of 2015:

      143. The petitioners secured a degree or diploma in the
regular stream and thereafter got appointed as
Sub-engineers. They have challenged in the above Writ
Petition, the action of the respondents in posting as in-charge
Additional Assistant Engineers, persons who secured
diploma/degree through CCC mode. 
      144. In view of our findings on the core issues raised in
the Writ Petitions. This Writ Petition is allowed and the
respondents are directed to consider the cases of the
petitioners for promotion, as per their seniority and in terms
of the rules.
Writ Petition No.40338 of 2015:

      145. The petitioners secured degree/diploma in the
regular steam and thereafter got appointment. They have
come up with the above Writ Petition challenging the action of
the respondents in not following T.O.O. Ms. No. 134 dated
11.09.2008 as illegal.
      146. In view of our finding upholding T.O.O. Ms. No.
134 dated 11.09.2008, this Writ Petition deserves to be
allowed. Accordingly it is allowed. But all benefits will only be
prospective and not retrospective.
Writ Petition No.40441 of 2015:

      147. The petitioners secured diploma through CCC
mode, after their appointment. They have come up with the
above Writ Petition challenging the action of the respondents
in not promoting them as Additional Assistant Engineers.
They also seek a consequential direction to the respondents
to treat the diplomas secured through CCC mode as valid.
      148. In view of the reasonings that we have given from
paras 1 to 120, this Writ Petition deserves to be dismissed.
Accordingly it is dismissed.
Writ Petition No.12086 of 2016:

      149. This Writ Petition challenges T.O.O Ms. No. 134
dated 11.09.2008. We have indicated in the main part of this
Order that this Office Order was issued by taking note of
various factors and that T.O.O Ms. No. 134 was perfectly
valid. Hence this Writ Petition is dismissed.
Writ Petition No.12269 of 2016:

      150. This Writ Petition also challenges T.O.O Ms.No.
134 and T.O.O Ms.No.186 as well as N.O.O No.181 issued by 
the Northern Power Distribution Company of Telangana Ltd.
Obviously the petitioners acquired a degree through CCC
mode.
      151. In fact the Office Orders Too Ms. No 134, T.O.O
Ms.No.186 and N.O.O No.181 were all issued in September 
and October of the year 2008. The petitioners have come up
with a challenge to these Office Orders in the year 2016, after
securing promotion in violation of the impugned Office
Orders. At least two of the four Writ Petitioners secured the
degree only after the impugned Office Order T.O.O Ms. No
134. Therefore apart from the reasonings that we have given
in paras 1 to 120 above, this Writ Petition deserves to be
dismissed both on the ground of laches and on the ground
that the petitioners secured promotions in violation of the
impugned policy decision and two of them secured degrees
through CCC mode while the impugned orders were in force.
Writ Petition No.12271 of 2016:

      152. This Writ Petition is exactly similar to WP No.
12269 of 2016. Therefore the same also deserves to be
dismissed for the very same reasons. Accordingly it is
dismissed.
Writ Petition No.14723 of 2016:

      153. The petitioners acquired diplomas and degrees
through CCC mode. Therefore they have come up with the 
above Writ Petition seeking a declaration that the degree
courses secured through CCC mode are valid.
      154. For the reasons stated in the main part of this
judgment, this Writ Petition is dismissed.
Writ Petition No.22227 of 2016:

      155. This Writ Petition challenges the action of the
respondents in not following T.O.O Ms. No. 134 dated
11.09.2008. Since we have upheld this Office Order, this Writ
Petition deserves to be allowed. Accordingly it is allowed. The
respondents shall consider the case of the petitioners for
promotion, but with prospective effect.
Writ Petition No.36087 of 2016:

      156. The prayer in this Writ Petition is similar to WP No.
22227 of 2016. Therefore this Writ Petition is allowed with a
direction to consider their cases for promotion. But the
benefits will only be prospective.
Writ Petition No.7999 of 2017:

      157. The petitioners herein secured diplomas in the
regular stream and thereafter got appointed. They came up
with the above Writ Petition challenging T.O.O Ms. No. 385
dated 17.02.2017, by which T.O.O Ms. No. 83 dated
17.04.2015 was reiterated. Subsequently they got their prayer
amended so as to challenge T.O.O Ms. No. 83 as violative of
Section 10 of the AICTE Act and section 22 of the UGC Act.
      158. In the light of the above discussion in the main
portion of this order, this Writ Petition deserves to be allowed
and accordingly it is allowed.
Writ Petition No.15103 of 2017:

      159. The petitioners challenge T.O.O  Ms. No 134 dated
11.09.2008 in this Writ Petition. They also challenge the
consequential order passed in C.O.O No. 377 dated
27.09.2008.
      160. We have dealt with the challenge to T.O.O Ms. No.
134 in the main part of this order. Therefore for the reasons
contained therein, this Writ Petition deserves to be dismissed.
Accordingly it is dismissed.
Writ Petition No.17527 of 2017:

      161. This Writ Petition challenges the action of the
respondents in purporting to cancel the promotions given to
the petitioners in violation of T.O.O. Ms. No 134. Since we
have upheld T.O.O Ms. No. 134, this Writ Petition should fail
as a consequence.
Writ Petition No.34857 of 2017:

      162. This Writ Petition is filed by a person who secured
a degree in engineering in the regular stream. He challenges
T.O.O. Ms. No. 151 dated 13.10.2017.
      163. In the main part of this order we had given reasons
as to why T.O.O Ms. No.134 is to be upheld and as a
consequence T.O.O Ms. No. 151 has to be set aside. Therefore
this Writ Petition is allowed
Writ Appeal No.1683 of 2017:

      164. This Writ Appeal arises out of an Interim order
passed in WP No. 34857 of 2017. Since we have allowed WP 
No. 34857 of 2017, nothing survives in this Writ Appeal.
Hence it is closed.




Contempt Case No.1693 of 2015: 

      165. This Contempt Petition arises out of an Interim
order passed by a learned single Judge in WP No. 12356 of
2015. Since the main Writ Petition itself has been disposed of
by this order. Hence we close this Contempt Petition with a
direction to the respondents at least to implement the final
order passed herein.
Contempt Case No.2489 of 2016: 

      166. This Contempt Petition arises out of an Interim
order passed by a learned single Judge in WP No. 36087 of
2016, not to effect promotions contrary to T.O.O Ms. No. 134.
Since the main Writ Petition itself has been disposed of by
this order, we close this Contempt Petition with a direction to
the respondents at least to implement the final order passed
herein.
      167. Wherever there are impleading petitions and
applications for amendment, they are allowed. All other
miscellaneous petitions are closed.
___________________________   
V.RAMASUBRAMANIAN, J.     
___________________ 
M.GANGA RAO, J.   
19th January, 2018.

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