August 20, 2018
Job Insecurity of Teachers– In this recent case, the Supreme Court Bench elucidated on the job insecurity encountered by teachers and lecturers on account of artificial breaks due to change in education pattern.
Case name: Ahalya A. Samtaney v. The State of Maharashtra
In the case, the Appellant was appointed as a tutor of English in the H.R. College of Commerce and Economics in 1974. The then existing pattern of education was of 10 years schooling and 4 years of college. A new pattern of education was introduced in 1976 under the pattern of 10+2+3, as a consequence of which the appellant was rendered fully surplus in the senior college. In view of Government guidelines to absorb rendered surplus, the appellant was appointed as a full time teacher in English in a relatively lower pay scale.
Subsequently, the appellant sought the appellant sought regularisation of her pay-scale, a grievance, which was not redressed, which resulted in her filing writ petition before the Bombay High Court. The defence of the respondents was based on the alleged non-continuous service of the appellant. However, the appellant contended that she was in continuous service, but could not complete two years of continuous service on account of the new pattern of education.
The High Court of Bombay dismissed the appellant’s petition, aggrieved by which the Appellant approached the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court in the case allowed the appeal and made the following observations in the case:
- That security of tenure for a teacher, who dedicates her life for education of the students, is of utmost importance. Insecurity should not be created in the employment of such lecturers or teachers, more so when they are through a process of really a subterfuge of giving artificial breaks which was result of a change in the educational curriculum.
- With reference to delay in filing writ petition by the Appellant, the Court noted that the alleged delay in filing the writ petition cannot stand in the way of the appellant getting the benefit for services. The relevant pay-scale will entitle her to the emoluments which were admissible to her for work already performed.
Accordingly, the Apex Court directed the respondents to calculate the emoluments due to the appellant and remit the same to appellant.
- The Court in the case also considered the aspect of artificial break arising from the change in the education pattern. In this context, reference was made to the case of Professor Pervez H. Lentin v. The Principal St. Xavier’s College & Ors., whereby it was observed that in most of the cases services of the teachers in junior colleges were terminated at the end of every academic year and they were appointed for the next academic year without benefit of continuous service and that it had further been represented to Government that such teachers should get the status of confirmed teachers if they had put in, in all, 24 months service even though it was not continuous due to the breaks given by the managements of the Non-Government Junior Colleges. It was observed that such practice had resulted in a sense of insecurity amongst the employees and deprived them of benefits of continuous service. It was therefore directed that a total of 24 months service in the same institution over-looking the break in service, should qualify junior college teachers to be treated as substantive subject to certain conditions.
The entire case can be accessed here.