BANERJEE, J. -
(1.)THE most accepted methodology of Government working ought always to be fairness and in the event of its absence, law Courts would be within its jurisdiction to deal with the matter appropriately. This proposition is so well settled that we need not dilate further on to this. It is this concept of fairness which Mr. Ganguli, appearing in support of the petition for contempt very strongly contended, is totally absent in spite of three final rounds of litigation upto this Court between the parties. Mr. Bhaskar Gupta, learned senior advocate appearing for the alleged contemnors, however, contended that the conduct of the respondents can neither be termed to be unfair or in disregard to the orders of the Court on a true reading of the order - this stand of the respondents, however, stands negated by Mr. Ganguli. THE conduct, Mr. Ganguli, contended, is not only deliberate but utterly perverse and in grossest violation of the orders of this Court and by reason therefor the fruit of the litigation has not yet been made available and being decried to the petitioner for one reason or the other for the last about 15 years. Incidently, it would be convenient to note that the principal issue involved in the matter pertains to the entitlement of the petitioners to the scale equivalent to that of Physical Instructors in the scale of Rs. 700-1600 as on 2/07/1984 and Rs. 2200-4000 w.e.f. 1986.
(2.)TURNING, however, on to the factual score, it appears that the petitioners are Science Graduates of different universities in the country and have been appointed as Laboratory Assistants in colleges and in addition to their normal duties, the petitioners were supposed to assist the teachers and help the students in practical classes, impart instructions to the students in practical classes and to perform demonstration work including preparation of the lesson units in the practical classes. According to the petitioners these Laboratory Assistants were all along being treated as teaching staff and pay and allowances including the Government share of Dearness Allowances were paid to them until the issuance of the Government Order No. 288 - Education (CS) dated 21/03/1969 wherein Laboratory Assistants of non-government affiliated colleges were treated as members of the non-teaching staff. The effect of such re-designation had a direct impact as regards the payment of Dearness Allowances and obviously the same being prejudicial to the interest of the petitioners, representations followed against the Government Order, but, however, to no effect. Representations were also made by reason of the withdrawal ofteaching status as the Graduate Laboratory Assistants had to discharge teaching function as well, apart from the normal conduct of the Laboratory work.
The factual score depict that subsequently in August, 1983 the State Government redesignated the Laboratory Assistants as Laboratory Instructors - it is on this score that Mr. Ganguli, learned senior counsel appearing in support of the petition very strongly criticised. The change of nomenclature according to him was otherwise meaningless as there was neither any conferment of status of teachers or the grant of any pay scale consistent with the teaching status. The Government notification was attributed to be a mischievous deception and a "hoax" - a rather strong criticism : the question, therefore, arises whether there was any justification of such an attribute to the Government notification dated 10/08/1983 : a short question consequently, thus - what was the necessity for issuance of such an order - would the change of nomenclature assist in any way the Graduate Laboratory Assistants? A bare perusal of the notification does not howsoever give any reason whatsoever as to the necessity of its issuance - the notification on the contrary makes it clear that there would be no enhancement of pay as also the status as non-teaching staff would remain unchanged : It is only the word "Assistant" was replaced by the word "Instructors" - but does that confer any material benefit to the persons concerned? The answer cannot in the factual context but be in the negative. It is on this background and upon perusal of the notification, Mr. Ganguli's criticism seems to be rather apposite though couched in a very strong language but by reason of the fact-situation of the matter in issue and if we may say so, probably justifiably so.
Be it noted that Graduate Laboratory Assistants working in Government colleges have been given the status and designations of Demonstrators and have been accepted as members of teaching staff. According to the petitioners they possess similar qualifications, experience etc. but even though being similarly circumstanced, the Graduate Laboratory Assistants of sponsored and non-Government private colleges of West Bengal stand discriminated against the Graduate Laboratory Assistants of Government colleges in West Bengal. The earlier writ petition which stand concluded by this Court's order dated 26/07/1994 contained detailed list of University Acts and Statutes wherein "teachers" have been defined to "include the Instructors".
(3.)NEEDLESS to place on record that by reason of the act of discrimination and having failed to obtain any redress from the State-respondents the petitioners moved the learned single Judge of the Calcutta High Court in the earlier writ petition for issuance of a writ of Mandamus to treat the Graduate Laboratory Assistants as teaching staff as per the definition contained in different University Act and also to give them a scale of pay equivalent to that of Physical Instructors. By a judgment and order dated 29/07/1987 the learned single Judge issued a writ of Mandamus upon a detailed judgment the operative portion whereof is set out herein below :-
". . . . . . . . . The Rule accordingly is made absolute and the State respondents are hereby commanded by the issuance of a writ in the nature of Mandamus to treat the Graduate Laboratory Assistants who have already been redesignated as "Laboratory Instructors" as teaching staff and to pay them in accordance with the existing scale of pay prescribed for the Physical Instructors with effect from 10/08/1983 with all arrears."
The appeal taken therefrom by the State Government resulted in confirmation of the order by the judgment of the Appellate Bench dated 15/05/1992. The State of West Bengal, however, being aggrieved and dissatisfied with judgment and order of the Appellate Bench of the High Court moved a Special Leave Petition under Article 136 of the Constitution before this Court and this Court finally on 26/07/1994 refused to interfere with the order and disposed of the matter with a speaking order. Relevant extracts of the same however are set out herein below :-
". . . . . .the Division Bench of the High Court upheld the findings of the learned single Judge. We have heard learned counsel for the parties. We see no ground to interfere with the reasoning and the conclusions reached by the learned single Judge as upheld by the Division Bench of the High Court. Weare, however, of the view that the respondents-petitioners be paid the revised scale of pay, as directed by the High Court, with effect from 1/08/1987 instead of 10/08/1983 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The arrears shall be paid to the respondents in two installments, first by the end of February, 1995 and the second installment by 31/08/1995. The appeal is dismissed with the above modifications. No costs."