T.A. 138/2009, M.A. 850/2009, M.A. 1772/2009; T.A. 100/2009, M.A. 851/2009; T.A. 117/2009, M.A. 852/2009; O.A. 419/2009, M.A. 661/2009; O.A. 431/2009, M.A. 307/2009, M.A. 208/2009, M.A. 666/2009; T.A. 312/2009, M.A. 660/2009; O.A. 1209/2009. Case: 1. Dr. Nirendra Dev, Deputy Director, All India council of Technical Education, 2. Rominder Randhawa, Deputy Director, All India council of Technical Education, 3. G. Manushree, Deputy Director, All India council of Technical Education, 4. Aradhana Chopra, Deputy Director, All India council of Technical Education, 5. Dr. Buhpendra Kumar Sharma S/o Dr. Narendra Nath Sharma, 6. Sandeep Singhal S/o Surender Singhal, 7. Dr. B. K. Tosh S/o P. Tosh, 8. Dr. V. K. Kohli S/o B. M. Kohli, 9. Sulata Dandapat, Assistant Director (RID), AICTE, 10. Dr. Arindam Kumar Chanda S/o A. K. Chanda, 11. Dr. Manish Bhalla S/o B. N. Bhalla, 12. Sanjeev Batra S/o I. J. Batra, 13. Shriom Dalal S/o Zile Singh, 14. Dr. Sanjay Sharma S/o O.P. Sharma, Deputy Director, Mumbai Vs 1. All India Council of Technical Education through its Chairman, 2. Member Secretary, All India council of Technical Education, 3. Union of India through Secretary, Ministry of Human Resources Development, 4. Government of Assam, Education (Higher) Department, .... Central Administrative Tribunal

Case Number:T.A. 138/2009, M.A. 850/2009, M.A. 1772/2009; T.A. 100/2009, M.A. 851/2009; T.A. 117/2009, M.A. 852/2009; O.A. 419/2009, M.A. 661/2009; O.A. 431/2009, M.A. 307/2009, M.A. 208/2009, M.A. 666/2009; T.A. 312/2009, M.A. 660/2009; O.A. 1209/2009
Party Name:1. Dr. Nirendra Dev, Deputy Director, All India council of Technical Education, 2. Rominder Randhawa, Deputy Director, All India council of Technical Education, 3. G. Manushree, Deputy Director, All India council of Technical Education, 4. Aradhana Chopra, Deputy Director, All India council of Technical Education, 5. Dr. Buhpendra Kumar Sharma S/o Dr. Narendra Nath Sharma, 6. Sandeep Singhal S/o Surender Singhal, 7. Dr. B. K. Tosh S/o P. Tosh, 8. Dr. V. K. Kohli S/o B. M. Kohli, 9. Sulata Dandapat, Assistant Director (RID), AICTE, 10. Dr. Arindam Kumar Chanda S/o A. K. Chanda, 11. Dr. Manish Bhalla S/o B. N. Bhalla, 12. Sanjeev Batra S/o I. J. Batra, 13. Shriom Dalal S/o Zile Singh, 14. Dr. Sanjay Sharma S/o O.P. Sharma, Deputy Director, Mumbai Vs 1. All India Council of Technical Education through its Chairman, 2. Member Secretary, All India council of Technical Education, 3. Union of India through Secretary, Ministry of Human Resources Development, 4. Government of Assam, Education (Higher) Department, ...
Counsel:A. K. Ganguly, R. K. Gupta, P. N. Mishra, J. K. Sahoo, K. N. Tripathi, Vivek Singh, Arunab Choudhary, Raktim Gogoi, Manisha Badoni, Naresh Kaushik, S. Chandrashekhar, Manoj Kumar, R. N. Singh, Aditya Chhibber, Jyoti Singh, Rajan Mazumdar
Judges:V. K. Bali (Chairman) & L. K. Joshi (Vice Chairman)
Issue:Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 - Section 2(e); All India Council for Technical Education Act, 1987 - Section 23; Constitution of India, 1950 - Articles 12, 14, 16(1), 21
Judgement Date:January 12, 2010
Court:Central Administrative Tribunal

Judgment:

V. K. Bali (Chairman), (Principal Bench, New Delhi)

  1. By this common order, we propose to decide seven connected Transferred/Original Applications bearing nos. T.A. 138/2009; T.A. 100/2009; T.A. 117/2009; O.A. 419/2009; O.A. 431/2009; T.A. 312/2009; and O.A. 1209/2009, as common questions of law and facts arise in all the cases. Learned counsel representing the parties also suggest likewise. The bare minimum facts that, however, need necessary mention, have been extracted from T.A. 138/2009 in the matter of Dr. Nirendra Dev & Others v All India Council of Technical Education & Others, so numbered after W.P.(C) No.3874/2008 came to be transferred to this Tribunal, the primary jurisdiction, meanwhile having been vested with the Tribunal.

  2. The facts as set out in the Application reveal that the applicants are Deputy Directors in All India Council for Technical Education (in short, AICTE), the first respondent herein, at New Delhi. The said respondent is stated to be administratively and financially controlled by the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India and as such is an instrumentality of the State under Article 12 of the Constitution. It is stated that applicants 1 to 4 have rendered about 14 years of contractual service in the AICTE on duly sanctioned vacant posts of perennial nature after being selected on five occasions through open selection process conducted by the AICTE, without any intervention by any court of law or tribunal. The AICTE issued advertisement on all India basis in Employment News dated 25th September '1st October, 1993 and other national newspapers for recruitment on 10 posts of Assistant Director with the following required qualifications and experience in pay scale of Rs.3000-5000:

    Qualifications: Master's degree in any of the subjects of Sciences/Mathematics/Computer Applications/Management including commerce and Economics/Pharmacy/Applied Arts/Engineering and Technology. Relevant experience as per job requirements including teaching/research, educational planning, educational administration and training, etc. or equivalent industrial/public sector experience in the present scale of pay or at one level below.

    It was mentioned in the advertisement that fresh engineering graduates could also be considered and given consolidated (fixed) amount of Rs.4000/- per month. Such persons could be subsequently placed after due assessment in the pay scale of Rs.3000-5000 on completion of minimum of eight years of experience, including previous experience, if any. The 1st applicant was possessing B.Tech., M.Sc. (Engg.) and was having experience of nine years and fulfilled requirements regarding academic qualifications and experience as given in the advertisement. Pursuant to the advertisement as mentioned above, the applicants and others applied for the said posts of Assistant Director. Interview was held in the month of January, 1994, which was conducted by a duly constituted selection committee, and in the selection the applicants were selected on the basis of merits. The 1st applicant was appointed on contract basis as Assistant Director for three years in pay scale of Rs.2200-4000 with the stipulation that he may be placed in the pay scale of Rs.3000-5000 after due assessment and review of his performance as per criteria to be laid down by AICTE separately. He joined on 25.4.1994 and appointed in the lower pay scale as above than the one prescribed in advertisement. The 3rd applicant, who was B.Pharmacy and M.Pharmacy was appointed to the post of Assistant Director on 7.4.1994 against a duly sanctioned vacant post of perennial nature, on a consolidated salary of Rs.4000+450 HRA per month on contract of three years. In the appointment letter it was also mentioned that the applicant might be placed in the pay scale of Rs.2200-4000 after due assessment and review of her performance as per criteria to be laid down by the Council separately. The 2nd applicant was B.E. (Civil) and M.E. (Structures). She was appointed as Assistant Director on 29.4.1994 on same terms and conditions as the 3rd applicant. The 4th applicant who was B.E. (Civil) and M.E. (Irrigation & Hydraulics) was appointed as Assistant Director on 20.7.1994, also on same terms and conditions. The 1st applicant was appointed as Assistant Director after open advertisement for the post and interview by a duly constituted selection committee and his performance appraisal in the pay scale of Rs.3000-5000 (subsequently revised to Rs.10000-15200) vide appointment letter dated 25.8.1995. On the same very day, the 2nd applicant was appointed as Assistant Director in the pay scale of Rs.2200-4000 (revised subsequently to Rs.8000-13500) after open advertisement for the post and interview by the selection committee. On 27.10.1995, the AICTE notified its first recruitment regulations, wherein there was no provision for appointment on regular basis. It provided for appointment either on contract basis or on deputation basis without mentioning any possibility of absorption. Constitution of the selection committee was prescribed as under:

    "1. Chairman of the Council' Chairman;

  3. Vice Chairman of the Council' Member;

  4. Education Secretary or his nominee' Member;

  5. Expenditure Secretary or his nominee' Member;

    5-6. 2 members of EC to be nominated by the Chairman' Members;

    7-8. 2 experts to be nominated by the Chairman' Members;

  6. Member-Secretary of the Council 'Member'

    On 18.12.1996 the 3rd and 4th applicants were granted the pay scale of Rs.2200-4000 (subsequently revised to Rs.8000-13500) w.e.f. 28.6.1996, after due assessment and review of performance as per AICTE criteria. On 5.5.1997 the applicants were again selected for the same post of Assistant Director in the open selection on all India basis by the selection committee. The posts were advertised in December, 1996. Applicants 2, 3 and 4 were placed in the revised pay scale of Rs.10000-15200 on 27.12.1999 after due assessment and review of their performance as per the AICTE criteria. The 1st applicant was appointed on contract basis to the next higher post of Deputy Director w.e.f. 3.10.2000 following open advertisement and selection by the selection committee. It is the case of the applicants that in contravention of AICTE practice/policy, the 1st applicant was arbitrarily relieved of his service as Deputy Director from 3.10.2003 to 7.10.2003, and was again selected to the said post on the basis of fresh advertisement and interview by the selection committee and appointed again on 7.10.2003. He was granted the minimum basic pay in the scale of Rs.12000-18000, even though he had drawn Rs.13150/- as basic pay at the time he was relieved of his service on 3.10.2003. His contractual appointment as Deputy Director since 7.10.2003 was extended maintaining continuity of service with protection of all service benefits based on performance evaluation up to 6.10.2008 or till joining of a regular incumbent, whichever was to be earlier. The contractual appointments of the 2nd applicant since 29.4.1994 were renewed, maintaining continuity of her service with protection of all permissible service benefits up to 21.5.2003, after periodic open advertisements on all India basis of post/performance appraisal and interviews by successive selection committees as per recruitment regulations. It is the case of the applicants that the 2nd applicant was arbitrarily relieved of her services as Assistant Director on 21.5.2003, but was re-appointed on the same post on 6.6.2003, once again, following open re-advertisement for the post and interview by the selection committee. She was granted the minimum basic pay in the scale of Rs.10000-15200 even though, she had drawn Rs.10975/- as basic pay at the time she was relieved of her service in May, 2003. In October, 2003 the 2nd applicant was considered ineligible for interview for the post of Deputy Director on the pretext that her minimum basic pay being Rs.10000/- which was less than Rs.10975/-, requisite basic pay. Decision to debar her from interview, it is pleaded, was arbitrary because AICTE had earlier interviewed her for the same post in May, 2003 and she had already drawn basic pay of Rs.10975/-. Based on performance evaluation/selection committee recommendations, the 3rd and 4th applicants were granted extension as Assistant Director in continuity from 7.4.1994 up to 28.2.2004 and 20.7.1994 up to 21.5.2003 respectively, with protection of all legally permissible service benefits. On 21.5.2003, the 4th applicant was relieved of her services as Assistant Director in contravention of prevailing AICTE practice/policy. However, being selected by the selection committee in an open selection on all India basis, she was re-appointed to the said post on 6.6.2003. She was granted the minimum basic pay in the scale of Rs.10000-15200, although she was already drawing Rs.10975/- as basic pay when she was relieved of her services in May, 2003.

  7. Various committees constituted by the Ministry of HRD with respect to review of AICTE functioning suggested for regular staff in the Council for the sake of continuity and organizational memory. In September, 2003 Prof. U. R. Rao Committee for Revitalization of Technical Education stressed the need of regularization of experienced staff to ensure continuity of institutional memory. However, in contravention of prevailing AICTE, the 1st applicant was relieved of his service as Deputy Director on 3.10.2003 when he had put in more than nine years of unblemished continuous contractual service. He was again selected on the post of Deputy Director on 6.10.2003 following an open advertisement and interview by the selection committee. He was appointed on 7.10.2003. It is pleaded that in the renewed contractual appointment as Deputy Director, the 1st applicant was unfairly subjected to serious hardships of financial loss and mental harassment in addition to the unjustified and arbitrary...

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