The UGC has filed a counter affidavit wherein the action is sought to be supported on various grounds. The counter affidavit is filed in W.P.(C} No 22280/2012. It is submitted that in the UGC notification, Ext.Rl(a) itself, it is announced that final qualifying criteria for Junior Research Fellowship and eligibility for Lectureship. shall be decided by the UGC, before declaration of results In para 7 it is mentioned that only such candidates who have obtained the minimum required marks in each paper separately as mentioned in para 5, will be considered for final preparationof results. It is therefore submitted that the candidates were put to notice of the same by the notification itself and there is no illegality in the matter. Thus, the finalqualifying criteria has been decided perfectly as empowered by the notification itself; The Moderation Committee constituted by the UGC consists of senior academicians was for finalisying the qualifying criteria for Lectureship Eligibility and Junior Research Fellowship held in June, 2012.The meeting of the Committee took place on 17.9;2012. The Committee recommended that the General, OBC (non-creamy layer) and SC/ST/PWD candidates would be required to obtain an aggregate percentage of 65%, 60% and 55% respectively in addition to the paper-wise minimum percentage as qualifying criteria. This is done in keeping the customary practice adopted for finalising the result of UGC.NET . The basic minimum benchmark is intimated to the candidates in the notification announcing UGC-NET.
It is stated in para 9 that the final cut off is decided by the Commission, before the declaration of the result In the notification published by the UGC, there is always a clause that the final cut off shall be decided by the Commission before declaration of the result. As such there may be conflict in the minimum and qualifying marks prescribed in both these notifications.
The action taken by the UGG is sought to be supported by maintaining that the mandate of the UGC includes determining and maintaining standards of teaching, examination and research in Universities. Therefore, the said powers of the UGC to frame the criteria for an examination that makes the candidates eligible for teaching is well within its jurisdiction. In fixing the said criteria, no court can interfere. It is averred in para 11 that NET is a national level examination aimed to equated with arttification for any public appointment. The committee can evolve such procedure for determining the eligibility criteria; The wisdom of the committee cannot be called into question. The Apex Court has decided in various cases that in academic matters, the Court cannot interfere
Shri. Krishriamoorthy, learned Standing Counsel for the UGC therefore submitted that the UGC is not simply an examining body. Attention was invited to Section 12 of the Act in particular and it is contended that going by Section 12 which defines the powers and functions of the Commission, the Commission is empowered to take such steps for the promotion and co-ordination of University education and for the determination and maintenance of standards of teaching, examination and research Section 26(1)(e) which confers power to define qualifications, was also relied upon apart from the regulations of the year 2000 and it is submitted that the regulation has got statutory force in the ·light ·of the decisions of the Apex Court. As far as the aspect of clearance of NET under qualify the cream of the country for teaching and research in keeping with the mandate of UGC as per UGC Act, 1956 which includes determining and maintaining standards of teaching examination and research in Universities. In para 13, itis explained that nearly five lakh seventy thousand and odd number of candidates were participated in the test. Objective type questions were introduced for the first time. Mainly it is stated in para 13 thus:
'The eligibility criteria have been decided by the committees, taking note of various aspects and also to protect the standards of education. Comparing with the previous year's percentage of pass, even while prescribing 65% of marks aggregate, the number of qualifying candidates is 3 times higher. The UGC,. while introducing the objective mode, for the frrst time, has cautiously published the notification, prescribing minimum marks and clearly mentioned therein that, the qualifying criteria and eligibility criteria shall be decided by the UGC, before the publication of result. The qualifying criteria prescribed by the UGC, is basing upon the primary duty of the UGC, to prescribe and maintain educational standards for lectureship. There cannot be any arbitrariness or discriminations for the same."
It is further pointed out in para 14 that since it is a national level examination and as there is no ranking system, a cut off percentage is fixed, as a qualifying criteria. The notification/prospectus is only an invitation, to appear for the examination. Since it is an objective type examination, equated with arttification for any public appointment. The codnimittee can evolve such procedure for determining the eligibility criteria; The wisdom of the committee cannot be called into question. The Apex Court has decided in various cases that in academic matters, the Court cannot interfere.•
para 1.33.is concerned, it is submitted that it will always be the subjective.
It is pointed out that for this year all the papers have been prescribed in 'objective mode. The said body can fix up the
marks required for qualifying the test itself. It is submitted that there was no complaint against the prescription in the notification about the requirement whereby it was notified that final qualifying marks will be fixed later. The UGC was entrusted with the task of conducting the examination. by the Government of India in 1988. Shri •Krishnamoorthy
explained that after the initial results were available, they were analysed by the committee on various aspects. The committee, after examining the Answer papers and the competence including the skill and aptitude; etc. has made a recommendation for fixing the standard on a higher aggregate marks. Of course, the recommendation of the . committee may not be binding on the UGC but they can accept or reject it.The last year 5% marks was reduced and this year an increase was made. It is pointed out that the standard in education is the sole aim which was undertaken by the UGC; It is, submitted that there is no change in the rules of the game. The minimum qualifying marks was never published and thus there is no change from the said marks to come within the mischief in the rules of the game. It is submitted that there is no prohibition in the regulation for putting the qualifying marks. Therefore, it is mainly contended that there is absolute power under the regulations in prescribing the qualifying marks. Shri Krishnamoorthy relied upon the following decisions of the Apex Court to contend that the UGC has got absolute power which aspect has been concluded by the Apex Court. University of Delhi v. Raj Singh and others (1994 Supp (3) SCC 516) and University Grants Commission etc. v. Sadhana Chaudhary & others (JT 1996 (
SC 234). It is further pointed out that in academic matters this Court will be loathe to interfere. Certain decisions of the Apex Court are relied upon in that context also. It is also stated that the precedents cited by the petitioners counsel are different on facts regarding the said aspect also. Such precedents will not apply where factual matrix is totally different. It is further pointed out that there is no compulsion for the UGC to announce the final qualifying marks, under the Act.