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Monday, September 14, 2015

merely because the appellants have higher qualifications would not mean that they automatically become entitled to the pay-scale of higher post than the post to which they were appointed. The ratio decided in the case of State of Haryana vs. Kamal Shahrawat will not apply in the facts of the present case for the simple reason that the appellants have been serving in the college as a lecturer for the last 25 years. 19. After giving our anxious consideration in the matter, we are of the view that in the special facts and circumstances of the present case, the appellants are entitled to get the pay-scale at par with the teachers of the respondent college inasmuch as they have been discharging the same duties and also possessing the required qualification. However, this order will not create a precedent.

                                                                ‘Reportable’

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                     CIVIL APPEAL Nos.6691-6692 OF 2015
           (Arising out of S.L.P.(Civil) Nos.17176-17177 of 2013)


Gurdas Singh and others etc.                …..Appellant(s)
                                   versus

State of Punjab and others                  ..Respondent(s)

                                    with

                     CIVIL APPEAL Nos.6693-6694 OF 2015
             (Arising out of SLP (Civil) Nos.8082-8083 of 2014)

Dev Raj Kashyap and another                   ….Appellant(s)

                                   versus

State of Punjab and others                     ..Respondent(s)


                                  JUDGMENT

M. Y. EQBAL, J.



Leave granted.

2.    These appeals by special leave are directed against the  Judgment  and
order dated 26.3.2013 passed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana in  LPA
Nos.76 and 78 of 2012, whereby Division Bench of the  High  Court  dismissed
the Letters Patent Appeals preferred by  the  appellants-teachers  upholding
the decision of  the  learned  Single  Judge  who  disposed  of  their  writ
petitions with certain directions.



3.    The facts of the case in brief are that various writ petitions at  the
instance of teachers of two of the Sanskrit Institutes at Patiala and  Nabha
were filed, which were clubbed and segregated by the  learned  Single  Judge
under two heads. First, the cases in the  nature  of  public  interest  that
were  filed  by  the  affected  teachers  themselves   that   the   Sanskrit
Mahavidyalya, Patiala and Sanskrit Institute at Nabha shall not  be  brought
down to the level of school since they conduct courses at par with  colleges
beyond the level of matriculation and that the institutes shall be run  with
teachers of college cadre.  Secondly, the claims  at  the  instance  of  the
teachers that they are entitled to the scales of pay commensurate  with  the
Lecturers and Professors of colleges since the syllabi for the  courses  are
approved by the Punjabi University at Patiala  and  the  qualifications  for
teachers are as prescribed by the University.


4.    The common ground for all the teachers, who have  filed  various  writ
petitions, is that in a suit filed by one Acharya  Lekh  Ram  Dixit  against
State of Punjab, when he was sought to  be  transferred  from  the  Sanskrit
Mahavidyalaya, Patiala to a school, he claimed relief of restraint order  on
the ground that the institute was equivalent  to  a  college  and  any  such
transfer would not be permissible. The Court  accepted  the  contention  and
decreed the suit and also held that he would be entitled  to  the  scale  of
pay of a Lecturer in colleges. This was the central plank on  which  several
teachers working in these two institutes claimed the same relief.


5.    The factual background of the matter, as pleaded  before  the  learned
Single Judge, is that the Sanskrit  Mahavidyalaya  Patiala  is  reported  to
have come into existence in the Patiala State  for  imparting  education  in
the classical language of Sanskrit in  the  year  1860.  Later  English  and
Mathematics languages had been introduced in the year 1862 and in 1870,  the
Maharaja of Patiala created an Education Department and  the  institute  was
affiliated to the Calcutta University in  the  year  1874.  The  Viceroy  of
India Lord North Brooke  laid  the  foundation  stone  of  Mahindra  College
Patiala and Lord Rippon inaugurated the college building in the  year  1884.
The courses offered at the Mahavidyalaya were Shastri, Vishara, Prajana  all
in Sanskrit and Gyani, Vidwan and Budhiman all in Punjabi.  The  classes  in
Sanskrit and Punjabi were separated  from  the  college  and  moved  to  the
separate institutions  in  the  name  of  Sanskrit  Vidyalaya  and  Gurmukhi
Vidyalaya, Patiala in 1912. These two Vidyalayas were  amalgamated  in  1963
and a new institution namely  the  Government  Institute  of  Classical  and
Modern  Indian  Language(MIL),  Patiala   was   established.   The   Punjabi
University at Patiala laid down the qualification of teaching staff  of  the
affiliated institution for Oriental Titled (OT)  and  MIL  examination.  For
the Sanskrit teaching staff, the qualification was BA+Shastri+Prabhakar  for
teaching Prajana and Visharad and for still higher  course  of  Shastri,  MA
Sanskrit+Shastri+Acharya were needed.

6.    It  has  been  pleaded  that  the  Institution  at  Patiala  had  been
originally  affiliated  to  Punjab   University,   Chandigarh   but   w.e.f.
13.06.1969, it was  affiliated  to  the  Punjabi  University,  Patiala.  The
University's letter to the institute clearly showed that it was  treated  as
a college and came within the purview of the University. It  was  again  the
University that laid down qualification, pay scale and qualification of  the
teaching  staff  for  the  Mahavidyalaya  at  Patiala.  The  Senate  of  the
University had made the recommendation with reference to qualifications  and
pay scales on 25.12.1970  and  the  State  of  Punjab  itself  approved  the
Mahavidyalaya as a college on 22.6.1972.

7.    The stand-off between the teaching staff and the State really  started
only when the State of Punjab tried to bring the institute to the  level  of
school when aforesaid Acharya Lekh Ram filed a civil suit  stating  that  he
was a teacher in a college cadre and could not  be  transferred  to  school.
The suit had been decreed by the Special Judge, Patiala  and  the  order  of
transfer to a school was declared as illegal. The case was contested by  the
State upto this Court  and  at  all  levels,  the  trial  Court  decree  was
affirmed. The special leave petitions preferred against High Court  decision
were dismissed at the admission stage.  The plaintiff in that suit had  also
applied for release of arrears on the basis that he was entitled  to  scales
of Lecturer in a college and  the  DPI  (Colleges)  had  also  released  the
arrears on 25.09.1989.


8.    The appellants’ further  case  is  that  the  institutes  were  always
treated as  college.  Considering  the  pleadings  and  contentions  of  the
parties and observing that  the  State  itself  has  not  made  any  serious
dispute  in  this  regard,  the  learned  Single  Judge  directed  that  the
Institute of Oriental Languages shall be treated as  equivalent  to  college
and it has come under the control of the  Director  of  Public  Instructions
(Colleges).  It is affiliated to the Punjabi University at  Patiala.  If  it
is recognized as college, there is no  scope  for  the  Director  of  Public
Instructions (Schools) to have any authority  to  make  transfers  from  the
school cadre to this institute.

9.     With  regard  to  parity  of  scales,  learned  Single  Judge,  while
disposing of the writ petitions, held that
“All those persons, who have been brought from school cadre and  repatriated
or liable to repatriation shall have no claim to parity in  scales.  On  the
other  hand,  the  persons,  who  have  been  appointed  at  the  institutes
themselves  directly  and  who  possess  qualifications  as   lecturers   as
prescribed by the University or who have been  brought  from  college  cadre
from any other college  shall  alone  be  entitled  to  the  scales  of  pay
equivalent to that of Lecturers. The scales shall be  worked  out  from  the
date of their  engagement  at  the  institutes  and  the  amounts  shall  be
calculated and be paid to them within 8 weeks from the date  of  receipt  of
copy of the order. If amongst the teachers  in  the  institutes,  there  are
teachers who are brought from the school cadre but who have qualified to  be
Lecturers in a college, with qualification so acquired, the scales could  be
considered for revision and  for  retention  in  the  institute  itself  and
placed in the college cadre. Their scales will be revised only from the  day
when orders are passed for the  retention  in  the  institutes  and  when  a
decision is taken to treat them as coming within  the  college  cadre.  This
exercise shall be completed by the Director of Public Instructions  Colleges
and the  appropriate  sanctions  shall  be  issued  by  the  Government  for
appropriate revision of their scales commensurate with their  qualifications
and the status as persons belonging to the college  cadre,  within  8  weeks
from the date of receipt of the copy of this order.”

10.   Aggrieved by the decision of the learned Single Judge, the appellants-
writ petitioners of the three of  the  aforesaid  writ  petitions  preferred
Letters Patent Appeals before  the  Division  Bench  of  High  Court,  which
proceeded on the following two issues:
“i) Whether these school cadre teachers have a right to be retained  in  two
institutes or they can be transferred to school cadre?
ii) Whether the appellants admittedly belong to school  cadre  are  entitled
to the pay scales of Lecturers of the colleges on the  principle  of  ‘equal
pay for equal work’ on the ground  that  they  have  been  teaching  in  the
colleges?”


11.   The Division Bench of the High  Court  observed  that  the  appellants
were working in the  Institute  at  Nabha  claimed  parity  of  salary  with
teachers working in Colleges and they would make pointed  reference  to  the
fact that through instructions dated 04.03.1975,  Secretary  to  Government,
Punjab Education Department to the Director of Public  Instructions;  Punjab
had sanctioned the en-cadrement of the posts of Pradhanacharya  and  Acharya
of Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya, Nabha in the college cadre in the pay scale of  `
Rs.400-600 and Rs.300-600 respectively.  The State of Punjab in its  counter
contended that the appellants had never  been  appointed  from  the  college
cadre but they belonged  to  the  school  cadre.  The  appellants,  however,
disputed this position by  making  reference  to  the  letter  of  Assistant
Secretary, Education Department to the Deputy Director,  College,  Education
stating that the  appellants  were  working  in  the  college  wing  of  the
Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya ever since it was upgraded as  college  in  the  year
1972.

12.   Be that as it may, after having heard learned  counsel  appearing  for
the parties, the Division Bench of the High Court  upheld  the  judgment  of
the learned Single Judge holding that:
“…merely because the appellants were made to teach in a college,  would  not
mean that they are  to  be  equated  with  the  college  lecturers  and  the
principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ would apply. These  appellants  were
appointed in a school cadre as per the qualifications which  are  prescribed
for school teachers. The contention of the respondents  that  the  essential
qualification of passing NET Exam is not possessed by the appellants,  could
not be disputed by the appellants. That apart merely because the  appellants
have higher qualification would not  mean  that  they  automatically  become
entitled to the pay scales of higher post than the post to  which  they  are
appointed.
Thus, merely because the institute where  the  appellants  are  teaching  is
affiliated with the University land thus gets the status of a college  would
not mean that the appellants shall also be
entitled to the pay scales of lecturers.  Further,  the  contention  of  the
appellants  that  they  fulfill  all  the  qualifications  laid   down   for
appointment to the post of Lecturers is not correct.  Even  otherwise,  that
cannot be a ground for extending the benefit of ‘equal pay for equal  work’,
as the appellants were appointed  in  school  cadre  on  the  basis  of  the
qualifications meant for school cadres and the procedure for appointment  of
school cadres is  totally  different  from  the  lecturers.  For  all  other
reasons mentioned above  we  uphold  the  judgment  of  the  learned  Single
Judge.”


13.   With regard to the issue whether  these  school  cadre  teachers  have
right to be retained, the Division Bench held that when  it  is  found  that
the appellants are school cadre teachers, they would have not any  right  to
remain in two institutes which have now conferred the  status  of  colleges.
They can, therefore, always be transferred to school cadres.


14.    Hence,  the  present  appeals  by  special  leave  by  the  aggrieved
teachers.



15.   We have heard Mr. A Sharan, learned senior counsel appearing  for  the
appellants, Ms. Monika Arora, learned counsel appearing  for  the  appellant
in one set of appeals and Mr. Suresh Ajay Gupta and Mr. Praveen  Chaturvedi,
learned counsel appearing for the State and respondents  respectively.    We
have also perused the impugned judgment  passed  by  the  High  Court.   The
admitted facts are that the appellant No.1 Gurdas Singh possessed  requisite
qualifications  i.e.  Shastri,  Acharya  and   M.A.   (Sanskrit)   and   was
transferred from NJSA College, Kapurthala on  18th  August,  1989.   He  has
been serving in the respondent Institute for the last 26 years.   Similarly,
appellant No.2 Sitar Mohammad  possesses  qualification  of  M.A.,  Punjabi,
Gyani (Hons in Punjabi).  He was transferred from Government Middle  School,
9 Kala Patiala to the respondent Institute in August, 1979.  He  worked  for
about 27 years 5 months and retired in December, 2007.   Similarly,  Subhash
Chander, appellant having requisite  qualifications  of  Prabhakar  Shastri,
M.A. (Sanskrit), was transferred from Government  Senior  Secondary  School,
Patiala in 1990 and have been working there for the last 25  years.   It  is
also not in dispute that the appellants have been teaching to  the  students
in the college.







16.    From  perusal  of  the  letter  issued  by  the  Punjab   University,
Chandigarh  dated  27.6.1965  addressed  to  the  Principal   of   all   the
Institutions affiliated  with  the  University  inviting  attention  to  the
office circular dated 27.11.1963, it is clear that the  decision  was  taken
at the meeting of the syndicate held on 19.10.1963 laying down  the  minimum
qualifications for both the teaching staffs of the affiliated  Institutions.
 It was further decided by  the  University  that  those  teachers  who  are
confirmed hands and over 40 years of age will be approved on  the  basis  of
their long teaching experience etc. even if they do not exactly fulfill  the
qualification.







17.   As noticed above, the appellants have been working  for  the  last  25
years in the respondent  Institutions  and  teaching  the  students  of  the
college.  The reason given by the High Court is  that  for  the  purpose  of
claiming  pay-scale  at  par  with  the  college   teachers,   the   minimum
requirement is that one has to clear the State Level  Eligibility  Test.  In
our view, that condition will not apply so far the appellants are  concerned
as because on the date when they  were  appointed  and  transferred  to  the
college there was no requirement  for  having  the  qualification  of  State
Level Eligibility Test.  The qualification of the  candidate  is  considered
at the time of appointment and not after rendering 25 years  of  service  in
the college.





18.   The submission of the State counsel is  that  the  appellant  is  only
Acharya and, therefore, he can only get  the  benefit  of  merger.   We  are
unable to accept the submission made by the learned counsel.   Further,  the
High Court is not correct in holding  that  merely  because  the  appellants
have higher qualifications would not mean  that  they  automatically  become
entitled to the pay-scale of higher post than the post to  which  they  were
appointed.  The ratio decided in the case of  State  of  Haryana  vs.  Kamal
Shahrawat will not apply in the facts of the present  case  for  the  simple
reason that the appellants have been serving in the college  as  a  lecturer
for the last 25 years.







19.   After giving our anxious consideration in the matter, we  are  of  the
view that in the special facts and circumstances of the  present  case,  the
appellants are entitled to get the                  pay-scale  at  par  with
the  teachers  of  the  respondent  college  inasmuch  as  they  have   been
discharging the same duties and also possessing the required  qualification.
 However, this order will not create a precedent.







20.   The appeals are accordingly allowed with no order as to costs.


                                                                  ……………………J.
                                                                (M.Y. Eqbal)



                                                                  ……………………J.
                                                               (C. Nagappan)
New Delhi
September 01, 2015
















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