Revival of Engineering Degrees: AICTE vs Distance Education Students from 2001-2005

In a significant legal case, the Supreme Court of India addressed the revival of engineering degrees obtained through Distance Education Mode for students enrolled during the academic sessions of 2001-2005. The case involves the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the Junior Engineers from the Public Health Engineering Department, Haryana. Find out more about the implications of this ruling in the educational sector.


  • AICTE directed to devise modalities for conducting tests for students admitted during academic sessions 2001-2005
  • Tests to cover all subjects concerned
  • Tests to include written examinations and practicals
  • AICTE given one month to devise the modalities
  • The Contempt Petitioners enrolled in engineering courses through Distance Education Mode from 2001-2005.
  • They appeared in the AICTE test on 03.06.2018 and passed in the first attempt.
  • The Petitioners, currently Junior Engineers in the Public Health Engineering Department, Haryana, are entitled to retain their degrees and advantages until one month after the test result is declared or 31.07.2018, whichever is earlier.
  • This exception is given so that those who have the ability to pass the test in the first attempt do not face any inconvenience.

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  • Mr. Maninder Singh, senior advocate, justified in relying on observations from J.S. Parihar vs Ganpat Duggar case.
  • The Division Bench was questioned for setting aside the direction to redraw the seniority list.
  • It was argued that the correctness of the decision by Government on seniority list must be examined in light of the law laid down by three Benches.
  • The learned Single Judge of the High Court needs to assess the merits of whether the respondent wilfully disobeyed the court orders defined under Section 2(b) of the Act.

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  • The Judgment discusses the issue of candidates obtaining engineering degrees through Distance Education Mode without proper approval.
  • The Judgment acknowledges that some candidates may have progressed in their careers based on these degrees.
  • The Court extends a chance for the students enrolled during 2001-2005 academic sessions to have their abilities tested.
  • The Judgment aims to protect the interests of these students while also ensuring any serious infirmities in the degrees are addressed.
  • The Court rules that benefits and advantages from the degrees obtained in this manner will be suspended until the candidates pass a specified examination.
  • Failure to clear the examination in two attempts or choosing not to appear would result in the complete annulment of the degree and all associated benefits.
  • The Judgment modifies its directions to ensure that only benefits enjoyed by the candidates at the time of the Judgment would be restored upon passing the examination.
  • If a student does not wish to appear in the test(s), they will receive a refund of all money deposited towards tuition and other charges within a month.
  • Any promotion or career advancement based on the degree will be withdrawn if the student chooses not to take the test, but monetary benefits will not be recovered.
  • If students pass the test(s) within the stipulated time, all advantages and benefits will be restored, and their degrees will be fully revived.
  • An order passed by the Government on the basis of court directions creates a fresh cause of action for seeking redressal in an appropriate forum.
  • Errors in the preparation of a seniority list create a fresh cause of action for judicial review, not considered willful violation of the order.
  • In contempt proceedings, a fresh direction cannot be given to redraw the seniority list; the court can only exercise jurisdiction to consider the matter on its merits.
  • Correction of mistakes by a Division Bench in a judgment/order of a Single Judge falls under Section 18 of the Rajasthan High Court Ordinance.
  • An appeal by the State against the Single Judge’s judgment may not be necessary if the Division Bench corrects the mistake.
  • The promotion issue raised is unfounded as the seniority list was prepared on 2-7-1991.
  • Contempt proceedings cannot review the seniority list for conformity with earlier court directions.

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  • If students clear the test within the stipulated time, all benefits will be restored.
  • Each petitioner must deposit Rs.5000/- as costs within four weeks.
  • If students do not pass the test after two chances, their degrees will be recalled and cancelled.
  • If candidates do not clear or choose not to appear for the test, their engineering degrees through distance education will be recalled and cancelled.
  • The tests will be conducted in National Institutes of Technology in the respective States.
  • Students may choose to appear for the examination in May-June 2018 or as determined by AICTE.


Case Number: CONMT.PET.(C) No.-000408-000409 / 2019

Click here to read/download original judgement

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