The Supreme Court allowed appeals filed by three teachers and directed the Jamia Milia Islamia University to reinstate them.

The Court said that the action of the University of not continuing them after the posts being merged with the regular establishment and starting a fresh selection process is unjust, arbitrary, and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.

The Court said thus in a batch of civil appeals filed by three teachers of the Jamia Milia Islamia against the judgment of the Allahabad High Court which had dismissed their Letters Patent Appeals.

The two-Judge Bench comprising Justice Abhay S. Oka and Justice Pankaj Mithal observed, “Thus, considering that appellants were appointed after undergoing a regular selection process and they possess relevant qualifications as per the norms of UGC, they should have been continued on the posts merged with the regular establishment of the University instead of adopting the fresh selection procedure. In the facts of this case, the University's action of not continuing them and starting a fresh selection process is unjust, arbitrary and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.”

Senior Advocates Vinay Kumar Garg, Ajit Kumar Sinha, and Vinay Navare represented the appellants while ASG Vikramjit Banerjee represented the respondents.

Brief Facts -

The appellant was appointed to the post of Lecturer on probation in the University with effect from August 6, 2008. Subsequently, by the order dated April 29, 2010, the University converted the post from a probationary post to a temporary post. As in the case of the other appellant, the initial appointment of the appellant was in Dr. K.R. Narayanan Centre for Dalit and Minority Studies. The former appellant received the upgradation benefit of the Career Advancement Scheme of the University Grants Commission (UGC). According to the advertisement published on August 10, 2016 for filling in academic posts in Sarojini Naidu Centre, the appellant applied for the post of Associate Professor. On December 5, 2016, the University issued a letter offering an appointment to the appellant.

She was offered the post of Associate Professor and hence, was appointed with effect from December 8, 2016. The steps taken by the University to seek approval from the UGC for the merger of the posts in Sarojini Naidu Centre into regular establishment were already set out earlier. On June 28, 2019, a show cause notice was served upon the appellant and an advertisement was issued by the University inviting applications. Therefore, a Writ Petition was filed by her and during the pendency of the petition, the UGC issued a public notice continuing the UGC Women Studies Scheme till March 31, 2021. The Single Judge dismissed the Writ Petition in August 2021. Being aggrieved by this, the appellant preferred Letters Patent Appeal before the Division Bench, which was dismissed and the matter was before the Apex Court.

The Supreme Court in view of the facts and circumstances of the case noted, “This Court has highlighted the importance of the position of UGC. It is true that the letter dated 25th June 2019 addressed by the UGC has used the word ‘may’. However, considering the statutory position of the UGC, there was no reason for the University not to follow what the UGC stated. Much capital was made of the fact that the letters of appointment mentioned that the posts were tenure posts till the XII Plan period or till the scheme lasted. We may note that nothing has been placed on record showing that the scheme expired. Moreover, the appellants should have been continued after the merger, as suggested by the UGC.”

The Court said that a committee appointed by the University headed by the retired High Court Judge has recommended initiating a Disciplinary Enquiry against the appellant and notwithstanding this judgment, it will always be open for the University to proceed with the Disciplinary Enquiry subject to all just objections by the appellants.

“In view of this order, the appointments, if any, made by the University under the subsequent advertisement dated 18th September 2020 on the posts held by the appellants were explicitly made subject to the outcome of these petitions and therefore, the appointees, if any, on the relevant posts cannot claim any equity”, it further said.

The Court directed the respondents to reinstate appellants in their respective posts based on their selection in December 2016 within three months. It also clarified that though the appellants shall be entitled to continuity in service and other consequential benefits, they will not be entitled to pay and allowances for the period for which they have not worked.

“If any teachers have been appointed in the posts held by the appellants, the University shall consider whether they can be accommodated in the vacant posts, if any, in accordance with the law”, it concluded.

Accordingly, the Apex Court allowed the appeals.

Cause Title- Meher Fatima Hussain v. Jamia Milia Islamia & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 303)


Appellants: Senior Advocates Vinay Kumar Garg, Ajit Kumar Sinha, Vinay Navare, Advocates Ankur Chhibber, H. S. Tiwari, Nikunj Arora, Parv Garg, K S Rekhi, AORs Md. Ali, Srijan Sinha, Advocates Hansa Sinha, Naveen Soni, Barun Kumar Sinha, Prathibha Sinha, AOR Anantha Narayana M.G., Advocates Gopala Krishna M L, Prabhsimar Singh, Sneh Vardhan, and Pankaj Kumar Shukla.

Respondents: ASG Vikramjit Banerjee, Advocates Pritish Sabharwal, Sharad Pandey, Shweta Singh, AORs Amrendra Kumar Mehta, Satish Kumar, and Advocate S S Bandyopadhyay.

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