B.R. Sarangi,J. -
(1.) Dr. Brajaraj Mohanty, as a pre-2006 retiree, having retired from Utkal University as Professor in Business Administration on 31.03.2005, has filed W.P.(C) No.8667 of 2014 seeking direction to the opposite parties to fix his pension by taking Rs.43,000/- as the minimum pay in the pay band with Academic Grade Pay (AGP) of Rs.10,000/- and accordingly release the arrear pensionary dues w.e.f. 2006 along with appropriate interest from the due date of entitlement.
Similarly, Prof. Nimain Charan Mohapatra, who is also a pre-2006 retiree, having retired from Berhampur University as Professor in Physics, has filed W.P.(C) No.26212 of 2013 to quash the office order dated 29.05.2010 at Annexure-4 passed by the Berhampur University-opposite party no.4 and issue direction to the opposite parties re-fix his pension by taking Rs.43,000/- as minimum pay in the pay band and release his arrear pension w.e.f. 2006 along with interest @ 18% per annum till payment.
(2.) Since both the writ petitions relate to fixation of pension taking into account Rs.43,000/- as minimum pay with AGP of Rs.10,000/- and essentially the relief sought therein is similar in nature, they are heard together and disposed of by this common judgment.
(3.) For the sake of convenience and brevity, the factual matrix as pleaded in W.P.(C) No.8667 of 2014 is referred to. The petitioner therein got selected by following due procedure and joined as Professor on 25.03.1990. As a directly recruited Professor, he continued as such till his retirement on 31.03.2005 from the Utkal University as Professor in Business Administration. Therefore, he is a pre2006 retiree.
3.1 The Government of India constituted 6th Pay Commission on 05.01.2006, inter alia, to examine the principle, which should govern the structure of pension, death-cum-retirement gratuity, family pension and other terminal or recurring benefits having financial implications on present and former Central Government employees appointed prior to 01.01.2006. The Commission submitted its report by way of recommendation on 24.03.2008.
3.2 Chapter 5.1 of the said report under Annexure-1 deals with "Pensionary benefits of civilian employees and Defence Forces Personnel". Thereby, the Commission made a separate recommendation for revision of pension of pre2006 pensioners and for determination of pension of those retiring after the date of implementation of its recommendations. Para 5.1.47 of the report, which was accepted by the Central Government as well as the State Government, deals with fitment benefit to the past pensioners. In the recommendation, the Commission, in adherence to the principles of modified parity, has broadly divided the pensioners into two categories, i.e., pre-2006 retirees and post-2006 retirees.
3.3 After publication of 6th Pay Commission Report, the Government of Odisha in its Department of Finance constituted a Fitment Committee, inter alia, to examine the recommendations of the Pay Commission. After the Fitment Committee report, the Government of Odisha in Finance Department vide office memorandum dated 19.01.2009 adopted the 6th Pay Commission report. Para-5 of the said office memorandum clearly specifies with regard to revision of pension in respect of pre-2006 pensioners. The said office memorandum dated 19.01.2009 was further clarified by the Finance Department in Government of Odisha letter no.6575 dated 06.02.2009 wherein the method of calculation of pension and family pension has been provided at para-3.
3.4 On the basis of recommendation of the 6th Pay Commission, the Government of Odisha in the Department of Higher Education passed a resolution on 14.12.2009 to revise the pay scale of teachers and equivalent cadres in receipt of UGC pay scale in Universities and Colleges. As per Clause 5.2(iv) of the said resolution, while the revised pay scale of Professors in Government Autonomous Colleges was fixed at the pay band of Rs.37,400-67,000/- with Rs.10,000/- as AGP, in respect of the directly recruited Professors the pay scale was fixed at Rs.43,000/- in the pay band with AGP of Rs.10,000/-. Meaning thereby, as per resolution dated 14.12.2009 adopted by the Higher Education Department, Professors in the Government Autonomous Colleges have been separated into two categories, i.e. Professor and directly recruited Professor. As per the said resolution, the minimum pay of directly recruited Professors was fixed at Rs.43,000/- in the pay band with AGP of Rs.10,000/-. For the University Professors in general and directly recruited Professors of the University in particular, pari materia provision to Clause 5.2 (iv) has been provided in Clause 5.3(b)(i) and 5.3(b)(ii) of the said resolution, which suggest that like in the case of pre-2006 retiree directly recruited Professors of the Government Autonomous Colleges, the minimum pay of such Professors of the University shall be fixed at Rs.43,000/- in the pay band. Clause-14.1 of the said resolution provides the procedure for calculation of pension payable to all pre-2006 retirees with a provision under Clause-14.1(ii).
3.5 The combined effect of resolution dated 14.12.2009 of the Higher Education Department and that of the Finance Department dated 06.02.2009 read with office memorandum dated 19.01.2009, is that the minimum pay in the pay band of Rs.37,400/-67,000/- of all directly recruited Professors of both the Government Autonomous Colleges and the Universities shall be Rs.43,000/- with AGP of Rs.10,000/-. The petitioner, being a pre-2006 pensioner, having retired as a directly recruited Professor of the University, his pension should be fixed at Rs.26,500/-, i.e. at the rate of 50% of sum of Rs.43,000/- and Rs.10,000/- AGP, subject to completion of maximum 33 years of qualifying service.
3.6 Vide notification dated 15.02.2010, the Chancellor of the Universities had been pleased to lay down the Orissa Revised Scales of Pay for University Teachers (UGC Scale of Pay) Rules, 2010. Rule-4 of the said Rules provides that the revised pay structure with the pay band, pay scale and academic grade pay as applicable; corresponding to existing scale of every post/grade specified in column (3) of ScheduleI shall be as specified against it in columns (5) & (6) thereof. Accordingly, Schedule-1 (at serial no.10) provides that the revised scale of pay of Professors, who are directly recruited, shall be Rs.37,400-67,000/- and not below Rs.43,000/- in the pay band and AGP of Rs.10,000/-. As per orders of the Chancellor, vide notification dated 30.03.2010, it was directed that the Finance Department Resolution/ circulars/ office memorandum regulating pension/family pension and other terminal benefits etc. issued from time to time shall be followed in determining pension/family pension in the Universities regulated by the Orissa Universities Act and statute thereunder.
3.7 In pursuance of the above, the petitioner raised grievance before the University and in turn the University sought clarification from the Government, vide letter dated 23.08.2010, upon re-fixation of pension of the petitioner along with all other similarly placed Professors of the University, but, no reply was received from the Government.
3.8 Pursuant to resolution dated 14.12.2009 of the Higher Education Department, the minimum pay in the pay band of directly recruited Professors in both the Government Autonomous Colleges and the Universities must have been fixed at a stage not below Rs.43,000/- with AGP of Rs.10,000/-. Although the Government, while implementing 6th Pay Commission report, has fixed pension of the pre-2006 pensioners, who were directly recruited Professors of Government Autonomous Colleges, taking 50% of Rs.43,000/- as minimum pay in the pay band with AGP of Rs.10,000/-, such benefit has not been extended to their counterparts of the Universities. Hence this application.