GOLAM MUSTAFA Vs. UNIVERSITY OF BURDWAN & ORS.
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
University Of Burdwan And Ors.
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Gitesh Ranjan Bhattacharjee, J. -
(1.)The writ petitioner is working as the Herbarium Assistant in the Department of Botany, University of Burdwan. In this writ petition the petitioner prays for necessary directions upon the respondents to sanction the pay scale of Rs. 600-1250.00 for him as the said scale is the one enjoyed by the Herbarium Keeper in the Department of Botany of the Calcutta University whose duties and responsibilities, inspite of slight difference in the nomenclatures of the posts are the same as discharged by the petitioner. The petitioner's case is that he obtained the first class degree in M. Sc examination in Botany from the Burdwan University and he was appointed as Herbarium Assistant in the Department of Botany, University of Burdwan in July 1978 in the pay scale of Rs. 325-600.00 for a period of one year and that subsequently his term of on 'Ointment to the said post was extended for a further period of six months upto 31st Jan., 1980. Thereafter, he was appointed to the said post of Herbarium Assistant on probation for a period of one year with effect from 26th Dec., 1979 in the scale of Rs. 450-1000.00. It is the contention of the petitioner that the pay scales of the nonteaching employees of the different universities of West Bengal including the Universities of Burdwan and Calcutta were revised with effect from 1st April, 1978 and that in terms of the Government order dated the 4th April, 1979 which is annexure-'E' to the writ petition the Herbarium Keeper of the Calcutta University was sanctioned the pay scale of Rs. 600-1250.00. It is the case of the petitioner that the scale of pay of Herbarium Assistant of the Burdwan University as sanctioned by the Government order was reduced from Rs. 550-1160.00 to Rs. 500-1100.00. It is the contention of the petitioner that the petitioner as the Herbarium Assistant in the Department of Botany of Burdwan University does similar work and discharges similar responsibilities as done by the Herbarium Keeper of the Department of Botany of Calcutta University and that being so it is discriminatory and arbitrary to allow a lower pay scale to the petitioner compared to what is enjoyed by his counter-part in the Calcutta University. The Head of the Department of Botany, University of Burdwan in forwarding his representation to the Registrar of the Burdwan University under letter dated the 11th Jan., 1980 recommended that although the petitioner's designation was Herbarium Assistant yet he had to perform all the works in the Departmental Herbarium. It was also mentioned in that letter that there were more than one staff at the Herbarium of the Department of Botany, Calcutta University. The Registrar of the Burdwan University also recommended the case of the petitioner to the Government of West Bengal in his letter dated 1.9.86. In paragraph 5(h) of the affidavit-in-opposition affirmed on behalf of the authorities of the Burdwan University it is stated that the petitioner made representation before the authority contending, inter alia, that as in G.O. No. Nil(6)-Edn (U) dated the 24th April, 1979, the Herbarium Keeper of the Calcutta University was sanctioned the scale of pay of Rs. 600-1150.00 whereas the Herbarium Assistant of the University of Burdwan was sanctioned the scale of Rs. 550-3160.00, the petitioner should also be allowed the scale of Rs. 600-1250.00. It is stated in the paragraph 5(i) of the affidavit-in-opposition that such representation of the petitioner was considered by the Registrar (of the Burdwan University) who requested the Government to place the Herbarium Assistant of the University of Burdwan in the scale of Rs. 550-1160.00and the State Government was also informed by the Registrar that the nature of work of the Herbarium Assistant of the Burdwan University and the nature of work of the Herbarium Keeper of the Calcutta University are the same However, the Deputy Secretary to the Government of West Bengal, Education Department by his letter dated the 24th Sept., 1987 informed the Registrar of the Burdwan University that a pay Committee for the non-teaching employees of the State-aided Universities had already been set up and the incumbent concerned might represent the matter before such committee and that till the acceptance of the recommendation of the Pay Committee in this respect by the State Government the existing pay scale would continue. Accordingly, the matter came up before the Pay Committee constituted by the State Government and the pay Committee considered the question for fixation of the pay scale for the Herbarium Assistant of Burdwan University.
(2.)The extract of the report of the Pay Committee relating to the Herbarium Assistant of the Burdwan University is given below:-
"12.15.1 The post is treated as at par with Junior Technical Assistant of the Burdwan University and the pay scale for the post is Rs. 450-1000.00. But the incumbent is getting a personal scale of Rs. 500-1100.00. It has been stated that in the Calcutta University there is a post of Herbarium Keeper which is in the scale of Rs. 600-1250.00. The recruitment qualification for the post of Herbarium Keeper of the Calcutta University is Master's degree. The recruitment qualification for the post of Herbarium Assistant of the Burdwan University is reported to be as follows:-
'B. Sc with Honours in Botany and knowledge in Herbarium method and in Taxonomy of local plants.
B. Sc (distinction) and M. Sc in Botany with special paper in Taxonomy (flowering plants)'.
12.15.2 In view of the fact that the recruitment qualification for the post of Herbarium Keeper of Burdwan University is not an M.Sc. degree like that of Calcutta University and the fact that the post is equated with Junior Technical Assistant, there is hardly any ground to treat the pay scale granted to the Herbarium Assistant as an amongly. The committee therefore feels that there is no cause for interference".
(3.)The Government, after consideration, in the order No. 711(6)-Edn(U) dated the 24th April, 1979 annexure- 'E' to the writ petition prescribed the following nine pay scales for the non-teaching employees of the Universities in West Bengal. These pay scales are as follows:-
Annexure 'I' to the said Government order which is part of the Annexure-'A' to the writ petition shows the different pay scales existing and revised, in respect of different posts in grade No. 1 for non-teaching employees of the Calcutta University. There the existing pay scale of the Herbarium Keeper was shown as Rs. 320 600.00 and the corresponding revised pay scale was shown as Rs. 600-1250.00. In the relevant note thereunder it is mentioned that the scale is for the Master's degree holders for the subject and the incumbent who will not fulfil the minimum educational qualification will be placed in the corresponding revised scale of pay of their present scale. It is argued on behalf of the writ petitioner that under the revised pay scale the pay scale of Rs. 320-600.00 enjoyed by Herbarium Keeper of the Calcutta University was raised to Rs. 600-1250/ and there is no reason why the Herbarium Assistant of the Burdwan University who has to discharge the same nature of duties and responsibilities as the Herbarium Keeper of the Calcutta University should not also be sanctioned the pay scale of Rs. 600-1250.00 for avoiding discrimination and arbitrariness.
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