TARENDRA REANG Vs. STATE OF TRIPURA
HIGH COURT TRIPURA
STATE OF TRIPURA
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Akil Kureshi,J. -
(1.) All these petitions involve similar questions. They have been heard together and would be disposed of by this common judgment.
(2.) At the outset we may record individual facts :
(A) In WP(C) No.234/2020 petitioner No.1 was appointed as Wireless Operator in Government service on 16th October, 2009. Upon completion of training he was granted regular pay scale w.e.f 1st November, 2010. Petitioner No.2 was appointed as a Lower Division Clerk on 5th January, 2011 in fixed salary. He was granted regular scale on 20th January, 2016. Petitioner No.3 joined as Panchayat Secretary on fixed salary on 13th December, 2008 and was granted regular pay scale on 2nd August, 2014.
All the petitioners obtained no objection from their employers and applied for post of Teachers in Government schools. Petitioner No.1 wanted to be Post Graduate Teacher and Petitioners No.2 and 3 as Graduate Teachers. Such no objections were granted in the years 2017 and 2018. All the petitioners were selected through regular selection process upon which petitioner No.1 tendered his technical resignation which was accepted by the department and he joined his new post shortly thereafter pursuant to the offer of appointment dated 17th May, 2017. The Petitioner No.2 was offered appointment as a Graduate Teacher on 29th June, 2018. She tendered her technical resignation which was accepted on 29th November, 2018. She joined her new post shortly thereafter. Petitioner No.3 was offered appointment as a Graduate Teacher on 29th June, 2018. He tendered technical resignation which was accepted on 30th October, 2018 and joined the post soon thereafter.
All the petitioners were placed in fixed salary regime upon their joining new posts of Graduate and Post Graduate Teachers. They have, therefore, filed these petitions and prayed for a direction for granting them benefit of past service for all purposes including pay, allowances, leave encashment, pension etc.
(B) In WP(C) No.236/2020, the petitioner was appointed as an Inspector on 6th July, 2013 on regular pay scale. She was selected as a Graduate Teacher for which she had applied with no objection from the department. She tendered her technical resignation which was accepted on 6th December, 2017 and joined the post soon thereafter. In the new placement she has been placed in fixed salary ignoring her past Government service.
(C) In WP(C) No.558/2020, the sole petitioner was appointed as an Assistant Teacher (Science) on 29th March, 2012 by the Government after carrying out regular selection process for which advertisement was issued on 25th August, 2010. His initial appointment was on fixed pay basis. According to him, after completion of 5 years service, as per Government policy he ought to have been brought out to regular scale. This has not been done so far. The petitioner's first prayer is, therefore, for grant of regular pay scale w.e.f. 2nd July, 2017 on the post of Assistant Teacher. Pursuant to advertisement dated 2nd March, 2019 for recruitment of Under Graduate Teachers, the petitioner applied. He was selected. He tendered his technical resignation from his erstwhile post which was accepted by the department on 17th March, 2020 and he joined the service as Under Graduate Teacher soon thereafter. His second prayer, therefore, is that his past service as an Assistant Teacher(Science) should be preserved for all purposes.
(D) In WP(C) No.450/2020 all the petitioners were selected and appointed as Assistant Teachers(Science) on or around 2nd July, 2012 pursuant to the advertisement issued by the State Government in the year 2010 for such posts. In the year 2018, they applied for the post of Graduate Teachers with no objection from the department. They were selected and offered appointments which they accepted after tendering technical resignations in second half of the year 2018. They point out that upon completion of 5 years of service they had not been brought over to regular scale as Assistant Science Teachers and thereafter, they have once again been placed in fixed salary regime upon their fresh appointments as Graduate Teachers.
(E) In WP(C) No.780/2020 petitioner was appointed as Assistant Teacher(Science) on 29th March, 2012 pursuant to the selection process initiated by the State Government in the year 2010. His case is that he should have been granted regular scale after completion of 5 years which was not granted to him. In the year 2017, the petitioner obtained no objection from the department and applied for the post of Post Graduate Teacher. He was selected and offered appointment. He tendered technical resignation which was accepted on 18th July, 2017 upon which he joined as a Post Graduate Teacher. His grievance is that in the fresh appointment he has been placed under fixed pay ignoring his past service as Assistant Science Teacher.
Though this petition is fresh, since facts are identical to other petitions being considered we have clubbed the same for final disposal along with connected petitions.
(3.) Before we address the central controversy, a peripheral issue arising in some of the petitions may first be disposed of. We have noticed that there are some cases in which Teachers who were appointed in the year 2012 in fixed salary basis were not granted regular pay scale even after completion of 5 years of service. The stand of the Government was that these Science Teachers were not engaged against regular vacancies and that, therefore, they cannot get the benefit of the Government notifications providing for grant of regular pay scale to Group C and D employees after completion of 5 years of service in fixed salary. This issue was decided by this Court in case of Snehangshu Das and others v. State of Tripura and Ors. in WP(C) No.89/2020 and connected petitions in a judgment dated 18th December, 2020. Following observations may be noted :
'24. There is yet another angle to the whole issue. All the petitioners are discharging duties as teachers in primary and secondary divisions in Government schools where the very foundation of the students who would form the future generation of the society is laid. For over 8 years the Government refuses to remunerate these teachers at fair wages which are paid to other similarly situated teachers with same qualifications and nature of work. If the only argument of the Government is that they cannot stake their claims over regular pay scales because there are no sanctioned posts, there has to be something seriously wrong with the Government policy formation. As many as 1450 school teachers cannot be kept against unsanctioned posts. The fact that the work exists for them and precisely that is why they have been engaged is beyond dispute. When the work is of such perennial nature and the work is of such importance, can the Government argue that because the posts are not sanctioned the petitioners will not get fair wages. Obviously the answer has to be in the negative. Continuing the petitioners on fixed salary in perpetuity and at the same time expecting full dedication, efficiency and sincerity in their discharge of the duties would be a dichotomy.
25. In the result, all the petitions are allowed by providing that the petitioners will be brought over to regular pay scale upon completion of 5 years of service from initial engagement. This shall be with all consequential benefits including past arrears of wages and pay fixations. All the benefits of Government notifications issued from time to time concerning their past services will also be available to the petitioners. Entire exercise shall be completed within a period of six months from today'
In all cases where Assistant Science Teachers after their engagements in the year 2012 on fixed salary basis have not been granted regular scale upon completion of 5 years of service, would receive the benefit as held in case of Snehangshu Das (supra). They would have to be brought over to regular scale upon completion of 5 years of service with all consequential benefits. ;
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