Basu & Ors Vs. Ballygunge Siksha Samity & Ors  Insc 608 (22 September 2006)
Sema & P.K. Balasubramanyan P.K. Balasubramanyan, J.
are teachers of a recognized private school known as Ballygunge Siksha Sadan in Calcutta in the State of West Bengal. Originally they along with 26
others filed W.P. No. 4139 of 1992 in the High Court of Calcutta praying for
the issue of writ of mandamus directing the authorities of the school to fix
the salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff of the school and to remove all
anomalies in the scales of pay as recommended by the Third Pay Commission as
extended to other Government aided schools and government schools. Subsequent
to the filing of the Writ Petition, petitioners other than the five appellants
herein, withdrew from the Writ Petition on their reaching an understanding with
the authorities of the school. The five appellants pursued the Writ Petition. A
learned single judge of the High Court allowed the Writ Petition and directed
the Director of School Education to enforce parity in payment to the Writ
Petitioners in pay-scales and dearness allowances on par with the government
aided institutions and to consider whether there has been any discrimination or
anomaly in the fixation of pay-scales of teachers by the first respondent
management, with respect to the teaching staff in the institution. On appeal by
the management, the Division Bench of the High Court allowed the appeal and set
aside the decision of the learned single judge. Feeling aggrieved thereby, the
five teachers who were pursuing the Writ Petition, came to this Court with this
appeal. Pending the appeal, appellant No.5 died and appellant No. 4 withdrew
from the appeal, with the result that only three of the teachers of the institution
remain as appellants in this appeal to pursue the cause originally put forward.
There is no
dispute that the institution in which the appellants are working is a
recognized private educational institution in the State of West Bengal. In the State of West Bengal there are government schools, aided
schools and unaided private schools. In this case, we are not concerned with
aided schools or government schools. As far as private schools like the one run
by respondent No.1 are concerned, they do not receive any aid from the
government, but, they do get from the government dearness allowance component
of the approved teachers working in the school.
is no dispute that the recommendations of the First Pay Commission and that of
the Second Pay Commission, though they did not cover private unaided schools,
were implemented by the schools as part of their agreement with the teachers.
Though, the management also implemented the recommendations of the Third Pay
Commission in the sense that the salaries of the teachers were hiked in terms
of the said report, the institution refused to give retrospective effect to the
enhancement. In other words, the institution refused to give effect to the
recommendations of the Third Pay Commission with effect from 1.1.1988, as
recommended by the Commission and as implemented by the government.
It was mainly
complaining about the refusal of the management to implement the
recommendations of the Third Pay Commission with effect from 1.1.1988
retrospectively, that the teachers went to court. We asked learned Senior
Counsel for the appellants as to whether there was any Act, statutory rule or
even Government Order directing private unaided educational institutions to
implement the recommendations of the Third Pay Commission especially in the
context of the fact that the salaries and emoluments of teachers of private
unaided institutions was not a subject matter of reference to the Third Pay
Commission. Learned counsel fairly submitted that there was no statutory
provision, Rule or binding Order, but referred to the decision of this Court in
Frank Anthony Public School Employees' S.C.R.238] and submitted that the
principle recognized therein should be applied to teachers like the appellants
as well. Learned counsel conceded that there was no provision corresponding to
Section 10 of the Delhi School Education Act, 1973 in the Bengal Act. But the
submission was that the appellants were approved teachers and they were also
doing the same work as teachers of government schools and aided schools and in
the circumstances 'equal pay for equal work' principle could be directed to be
implemented and in that context the appellants could be granted relief. This
was met by learned Senior Counsel appearing for the respondents by pointing out
that the institution had not only implemented the recommendations of the Third
Pay Commission but has also implemented the recommendations of the Fourth and
Fifth Pay Commissions, though it was not bound to do so and there could be no
grievance that teachers are being paid salaries that are not comparable with
that of the teachers of government schools and aided schools. With reference to
the pleadings, it was pointed out by the learned Senior Counsel that the
teachers of the first respondent Institution, in fact, were enjoying some
additional benefits which are not available to teachers of government
institutions and aided institutions. It was also pointed out that out of the
very many teachers in the school, only three of them, the appellants before us,
have refused to enter into an agreement with the First Respondent and as
observed by Sahasranaman & Others [(1986) 2 S.C.R. 881], the fact that a
few are not satisfied, is no ground for interference by court or for grant of
relief in their favour when by and large the position adopted by the
institution is found to be fair and just and is accepted by all other teachers.
We find considerable merit in the submissions on behalf of the respondents. In
the absence of a statutory provision, we are not in a position to agree with
learned counsel for the appellants that interference by the High Court under
Article 226 of the Constitution is warranted in this case. We find on the whole
that there has been just treatment of the teachers by the first respondent-- Institution
and there is no reason to interfere even on the ground that the appellants are
being treated unfairly by their employer, the educational institution, or on
the basis that this is a case in which the conscience of the court is shocked,
compelling it to enter the arena to afford relief to the teachers.
In this context,
we must also notice that the Writ Petition in the High Court is filed for the
issue of a writ of mandamus directing a private educational institution to
implement the recommendations of the Third Pay Commission including their
implementation with retrospective effect. Even the decision relied on by
learned counsel for the appellants, namely, K. Krishnamacharyulu Engineering
and Anr. [(1997) 2 S.C.R. 368] shows that interference under Article 226 of the
Constitution of India to issue a writ of mandamus by the court against a
private educational institution like the first respondent herein, would be
justified only if a public law element is involved and if it is only a private
law remedy no Writ Petition would lie.
think that even going by the ratio of that decision, a writ of mandamus could
not have been issued to the first respondent in this case.
We must remember
that the profession of teaching is a noble profession. It is not an employment
in the sense of it being merely an earner of bread and butter. A teacher
fulfils a great role in the life of the nation. He is the 'guru'.
the teacher, who moulds its future citizens by imparting to his students not
only knowledge, but also a sense of duty, righteousness and dedication to the
welfare of the nation, in addition to other qualities of head and heart. If
teachers clamour for more salaries and perquisites, the normal consequence in
the case of private educational institutions, if the demand is conceded, would
be to pass on the burden to the students by increasing the fees payable by the
must ask themselves whether they should be the cause for putting education
beyond the ken of children of parents of average families with average incomes.
A teacher's profession calls for a little sacrifice in the interests of the
nation. The main asset of a teacher is his students former and present.
Teachers who have lived up to ideals are held in great esteem by their disciples.
The position of the Guru, the teacher, in our ethos is equal to that of God
(Matha Pitha Guru Daivam). The teachers of today must ensure that this great
Indian concept and the reverential position they hold, is not sacrificed at the
altar of avarice.
Bench of the High court has held that there is no ground to interfere in the
case on hand and have rightly set aside the directions issued by the single
find no reason to interfere with the decision of the Division Bench of the High
Court. We therefore confirm that decision and dismiss this appeal. We make no
order as to costs.