Civil Appeal Nos. 5527-5543 of 2013 (Arising out of SLP (C) Nos. 18766-18782/2010), Civil Appeal No. 5544 of 2013 (Arising out of SLP (C) No. 29332 of 2010), Civil Appeal No. 5545 of 2013 (Arising out of SLP (C) No. 10661 of 2011), Civil Appeal No. 5546 of 2013 (Arising out of SLP (C) No. 10783 of 2011), Civil Appeal No. 5547 of 2013 (Arising.... Case: Jagdish Prasad Sharma etc. Vs State of Bihar and Ors.. Supreme Court

Case Number:Civil Appeal Nos. 5527-5543 of 2013 (Arising out of SLP (C) Nos. 18766-18782/2010), Civil Appeal No. 5544 of 2013 (Arising out of SLP (C) No. 29332 of 2010), Civil Appeal No. 5545 of 2013 (Arising out of SLP (C) No. 10661 of 2011), Civil Appeal No. 5546 of 2013 (Arising out of SLP (C) No. 10783 of 2011), Civil Appeal No. 5547 of 2013 (Arising...
Party Name:Jagdish Prasad Sharma etc. Vs State of Bihar and Ors.
Counsel:For Appearing Parties: Rakesh K. Khanna and Sidharth Luthra, ASGs, P.S. Patwalia, J.S. Attri, Dinesh Dwivedi, R.S. Sodhi, Vijay Hansaria, R. Venkataramani, Rakesh Dwivedi, R.P. Kabilan and B.S. Patil, Sr. Advs., Sanchar Anand, Manjit Singh and Manish Singhvi, AAGs, Devashish Bharuka, Jasneet Kaur, Rameshwar Prasad Goyal, Renjith B. Marar, T.G. ...
Judges:Altamas Kabir, C.J.I., S.S. Nijjar and J. Chelameswar, JJ.
Issue:University Grants Commission Act, 1956 - Sections 3, 11, 12, 14, 20, 25, 26, 26(1), 27, 28; Bihar State Universities (Amendment) Act, 2006; Bihar State Universities Act, 1976 - Section 67; Patna University Act, 1976 - Section 64; Kerala University Act, 1974; Kerala Public Service Commission Act, 1968 - Section 2; Kerala Service Rules, 1958; ...
Citation:2013 (3) JLJR 367, 2013 (3) LLN 401 (SC), 2013 (3) PLJR 278, 2013 (9) SCALE 459, 2013 (8) SCC 633, 2014 (1) SCC (LS) 290
Judgement Date:July 17, 2013
Court:Supreme Court
 
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Judgment:

Altamas Kabir, C.J.I.

  1. Leave granted in the Special Leave Petitions, which were taken up along with the Writ Petitions and Transferred Cases, as they all involve common questions of law and fact.

  2. The common thread running through all these various matters is the question as to whether certain Regulations framed by the University Grants Commission had a binding effect on educational institutions being run by the different States and even under State enactments.

  3. The University Grants Commission Act was enacted by Parliament in 1956 inter alia with the object of making provision for the coordination and determination of standards in Universities and for that purpose, to establish a University Grants Commission, hereinafter referred to as the "Commission". Under the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, hereinafter referred to as the "UGC Act", the Commission is required to take, in consultation with the Universities or other concerned bodies, all such steps as it may think fit for the promotion and coordination of University education and for the determination and maintenance of standards of teaching, examination and research in Universities.

  4. Section 12 of the UGC Act inter alia empowers the Commission to inquire into the financial needs of the Universities, allocate and disburse grants to Universities established or incorporated by or under a Central Act, out of the Funds of the Commission for the maintenance and development of such Universities or for any other general or specified purpose. The Commission was also empowered to allocate and disburse, out of such Funds, such grants to other Universities, as it may deem necessary or appropriate for the development of such Universities or for the maintenance or development or for any other general or specified purpose. The Commission was further empowered to allocate and disburse, such grants to institutions deemed to be Universities, as it deemed necessary, for similar purposes.

  5. Section 25 of the UGC Act empowers the Central Government to make Rules to carry out the purposes of the Act by notification in the Official Gazette, with regard to the formation and the functioning of the Commission. Section 26 empowers the Commission to make Regulations consistent with the provisions of the Act and the Rules made thereunder, by notification in the Official Gazette inter alia in regard to defining the qualifications that should ordinarily be required of any person to be appointed to the teaching staff of the University having regard to the branch of education in which he or she is required to give instructions and to define the minimum standards of instructions for the grant of any degree by any University. In keeping with their statutory character, the Rules and Regulations framed by the Central Government and the Commission are required to be placed before each House of Parliament, while it is in session, for a total period of 30 days.

  6. Section 20 of the UGC Act, particularly, provides that in the discharge of its functions under the said Act, the Commission is to be guided by such directions on questions of policy relating to national purposes, as may be given to it by the Central Government.

  7. On 24th December, 1998, the Commission issued a Notification on revision of pay scales, minimum qualification for appointment of teachers in Universities, colleges and other measures for the maintenance of standards. In Clause 5 of the Notification, it was specified that the Commission expected that the entire scheme of revision of pay scales, together with all conditions attached to it, would be implemented by the State Governments, as a composite scheme without any modifications, except for the date of implementation and the scales of pay, as indicated in the Government of India Notifications dated 27.7.1998, 22.9.1998, and 6.11.1998. Clause 16 of the Notification also indicated that the teachers will retire at the age of 62 years, but it would be open to a University or a college to re-employ a superannuated teacher. Subsequently, the Commission, in exercise of the powers conferred upon it Under Section 26(1)(e) and (f) of the UGC Act, framed the University Grants Commission (Minimum Qualifications required for the appointment and career advancement of teachers in Universities and institutions affiliated to it) Regulation, 2000. The said Regulation does not, however, provide for the age of superannuation.

  8. On 23rd March, 2007, the Government, in its Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Higher Education, wrote to the Secretary of the Commission on the question of enhancement of the age of superannuation from 62 years to 65 years for teaching positions in Centrally funded institutions, in higher and technical education. In the said communication, it was mentioned that at the time of revision of pay scales of teachers in Universities and colleges, following the revision of pay scales of Central Government employees, on the recommendations of the Fifth Central Pay Commission, it had been provided inter alia in the Ministry's letter dated 27th July, 1998 that the age of superannuation of teachers in University and schools would be 62 years and, thereafter, no extension in service should be given. However, the power to re-employ the superannuated teacher up to the age of 65 years would remain open to a University or a college, according to the existing guidelines, framed by the Commission. In the letter, it was also indicated that the matter had been reviewed by the Central Government, in the light of the existing shortage in teaching positions in the Centrally-funded institutions in higher and technical education under the Ministry and, in that context, it had been decided that the age of superannuation of all persons who were holding posts as on 15.3.2007, in any of the Centrally funded higher and technical education under the Ministry, would stand increased from 62 to 65 years. It was also decided that persons holding such regular teaching positions, but had superannuated prior to 15.3.2007, on attaining the age of 62 years, but had not attained the age of 65 years, could be re-employed against vacant sanctioned teaching positions, till they attained the age of 65 years, in accordance with the guidelines framed by the Commission. It was lastly indicated that the enhancement of retirement age and the provisions for re-employment would only apply to persons in teaching positions against posts sanctioned in Centrally-funded higher and technical education institutions, in order to overcome the shortage of teachers.

  9. The most important development, at the relevant time, however, was the issuance of a letter by the Central Government in its Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Higher Education, to the Secretary, University Grants Commission on 31st December, 2008, regarding a scheme of revision of pay of teachers and other equivalent cadres in all the Central universities and colleges and Deemed Universities, following the revision of pay scales of the Central Government employees on the recommendation of the Sixth Central Pay Commission, subject to all the conditions mentioned in the letter and the Regulations. The State Governments were given an option to adopt the scheme in its composite form.

  10. While generally dealing with matters relating to appointment and promotion, it was reiterated that in order to meet the situation arising out of shortage of teachers in Universities and in other teaching institutions and the consequent vacant positions, age of superannuation of teachers in Centrally-funded institutions had already been enhanced to 65 years. It was mentioned in the said letter that after taking into consideration the recommendations made by the Commission based on the decisions taken at its meeting, held on 7th and 8th October, 2006, the Government of India had decided to revise the pay scales of teachers in the Central Universities. It was further stipulated that the revision of pay scales of teachers would be subject to various provisions of the Scheme of revision of pay scales, as contained in the said letter and Regulations to be framed by the Commission in this behalf. Paragraph 8 of the Scheme deals with other terms and conditions, apart from those already mentioned and Clause (p)(i) thereof, which deals with the applicability of the Scheme and relevant for our purpose is extracted hereinbelow:

    (p) Applicability of the Scheme:

    (i) This Scheme shall be applicable to teachers and other equivalent cadres of Library and Physical Education in all the Central Universities and Colleges there-under and the Institutions Deemed to be Universities whose maintenance expenditure is met by the UGC. The implementation of the revised scales shall be subject to the acceptance of all the conditions mentioned in this letter as well as Regulations to be framed by the UGC in this behalf. Universities implementing this Scheme shall be advised by the UGC to amend their relevant statutes and ordinances in line with the UGC Regulations within three months from the date of issue of this letter.

  11. Clause (p)(v) of the said paragraph, which is equally relevant, is also extracted hereinbelow:

    (p)(v) This Scheme may be extended to universities, Colleges and other higher educational institutions coming under the purview of State legislatures, provided State Governments wish to adopt and implement the Scheme subject to the following terms and conditions:

    (a) Financial assistance from the Central Government to State Governments opting to revise pay scales of teachers and other equivalent cadre covered under the Scheme shall be limited to the extent of 80% (eighty percent) of the additional expenditure involved in the implementation of the revision.

    (b) The State Government opting for revision of pay shall meet the remaining 20% (twenty percent) of the additional expenditure from its own sources.

    (c)...

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