A Division Bench of the Supreme Court on 16.10.2020 held that teachers who attain superannuation in the middle of the academic session should be allowed to complete the whole academic session for the larger interest of students.
In the Instant Appeal, the appellants were working as professors at Kumaun University. They approached the High Court aggrieved by the office order dated 21.12.2019. By Office Order the date of their retirement was set as the last date in the months they attained their age of superannuation (65 years).
Before the High Court, the appellants argued that they(the teachers) were entitled to continue in service, till the end of June 2021.
Reliance was placed on Indu Singh vs State of Uttarakhand where it was held that people who retired after 30th June were entitled to continue till the end of the academic year. It was opined that teachers should be allowed to continue until the end of the academic year to safeguard the interest of the students and to ensure that the academic activities were not disturbed.
Hon’ble High Court dismissed their case and held that Indu Singh vs the State of Uttarakhand was not binding on them and held that in case if the superannuation of an employee happens to be in June, their term will be extended till that month only and not till the end of the academic year.
Aggrieved, the appellants moved the Supreme Court.
Learned Counsel for the appellants argued that the intention behind the provision was to maintain the status quo and to ensure that the students were not disturbed. As the provision specifically dealt with teachers, it was made to ensure that students were not left without a teacher in the middle of the term and it will not amount to reemployment.
It was further argued that the High Court did not correctly interpret the Indu Singh judgement by stating that the facts mentioned therein were different. It was also stated that a bench of equal strength should not have refused to follow the order passed by a bench of the same strength.
Learned Counsel for the respondents urged the Court to not to interfere with the Judgement of the High Court, and it was stated that the Court took into account the fact that as per general order, that when an employee attained superannuation he/she was only allowed to continue till the following month.
It was also stated that the term “the 30th June following” was to illustrate a point and it does not mean that an employee had the right to claim reemployment till the following year.
Decision of Supreme Court
Hon’ble Supreme Court perused the documents and after going through all the arguments and facts of the case, held that teachers who were superannuating in midst of academic session should be allowed to continue for the sake of students.
It was further held that if teachers were not allowed to continue until the end of the academic year, then there would be disruption in teaching and delay in filling the position of teachers mid-session.
Accordingly, the appeal was allowed.
Title: NAVIN CHANDRA DHOUNDIYAL vs STATE OF UTTARAKHAND AND ORS.
Case No.: CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3493/2020
Coram: Hon’ble Justice Uday Umesh Lalit And Hon’ble Justice S. Ravindra Bhat
Date of Judgment: 16.10.2020